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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

A criminal group that was going to attack an illegal drug warehouse and kidnap another drug trafficker falls | Spain

At first glance, they were just another tourist on the Costa del Sol. They lived in a two-story semi-detached house in Mijas, which they rented at the end of June. During the months of July and August they went to the beach, visited a swimming pool or traveled for leisure to nearby municipalities, such as the city of Malaga or Marbella. They were six men between 35 and 46 years old from France who lived a life that was in no way different from what many other visitors do every summer on the Malaga coast. The National Police, however, knew that beneath this appearance of normality there were half a dozen members of a dangerous criminal organization with a history of robbery with violence, attempted assault on a Bank of France van and drug trafficking. Far from traveling to the Andalusian coast to rest, they had done so, presumably, to carry out two plans: kidnap a drug trafficker to steal money and merchandise and rob a kindergarten drug store (slang for the place where narcotics are stored illegally) in which another gang kept hashish or cocaine. The operation has ended with eleven people arrested between Malaga and the French country.

It was the French authorities who at the beginning of this summer warned of the presence of eight members of a violent French criminal organization in Tarragona, where they had settled. They launched a European Investigation Order and the case was handed over to Group II of the Robbery section of the Specialized and Violent Crime Unit (Udev). Shortly after entering the operation, they observed that three of those investigated returned to French lands while another five moved to the Costa del Sol. There, they changed addresses several times until they settled in a two-story semi-detached house in Mijas.

Sometimes they were joined by one of those considered the ringleader of the gang, who lived in another home, also on the Malaga coast, with his wife and daughter. Then another compatriot joined, a fugitive who had been wanted by the French police since 2008 for various robberies and violent crimes. One of the frequent destinations of this group was Puerto Banús. They did it, mainly, to meet with people dedicated to the world of drug trafficking, according to police sources. The technological surveillance measures revealed that in these meetings they obtained information about two of the main plans they had in hand in Malaga. On the one hand, the kidnapping of a drug trafficker from whom they intended to steal money and merchandise. In fact, they even launched surveillance systems to follow him and control his movements around the Marbella marina. On the other hand, they also wanted to attack a daycare center with drug – it is believed that, due to the profile of the drug traffickers they met, hashish or cocaine – also located near Marbella and owned by another criminal group. To carry out both activities successfully, they had traveled to Madrid to steal two vehicles, which they then changed the license plates so that it would not be detected that they were stolen. They also had a van.

Those who have investigated them assure that the group was “very dangerous” and that they did not mess around, hence their objectives were ambitious. At the end of August, police information assured that the criminal gang was going to carry out its plans, but finally several of the members moved to France. “We understand that they did not fully trust the information they were being given,” sources in the case explain. In their country of origin they said they wanted to return to the Costa del Sol to try again, but before they could return to Spain the French authorities decided to exploit the operation and make arrests simultaneously in both countries at the beginning of September. Thus, there were nine arrests on French soil and another two in the province of Malaga, corresponding to two of the men who had stayed in the house in Mijas. They were arrested by members of the UDEV with the collaboration of the GOES (Special Operational Security Group) due to the danger of the criminals. The Robbery Group of the Malaga Provincial Police Station has also participated in the operation, as well as initially the Tarragona Judicial Brigade.

In the search of the Mijas home, the National Police seized a GPS geolocation device, gloves and balaclavas, mobile phones and license plates, as well as two vehicles. The two members of the criminal group detained in Spain are considered allegedly responsible for crimes such as attempted robbery, illicit association, drug trafficking, arms trafficking and money laundering. They are in provisional prison after being brought to justice. In France, agents seized firearms—a kalashnikov and a semi-automatic weapon—and about 30 kilograms of hashish, according to police sources. The nine men arrested in France are charged with the crimes of attempted robbery, three crimes of participation in a criminal association, possession of weapons and drug trafficking. The criminal group, made up of men between 35 and 46 years old, is also accused of several crimes committed previously, one of them attempted robbery through the burglary procedure of a transport and custody service for funds and securities of the Bank of France. .

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