Two floors, more than 500 square meters, swimming pool and the entire Costa del Sol at your fingertips. This is the house on Hortensia street in the El Paraíso urbanization, in Marbella (Málaga), which was occupied by one of the members of an organization of drug traffickers dismantled by the Civil Guard in an operation led by the Coordination Body Against Drug Trafficking (OCON). South) and released this Saturday. The group, made up of Spanish and Cuban citizens, had organized to reside in luxury homes like this one illegally distributed throughout Marbella and Estepona. They are mainly properties of banks or second residences of foreign citizens from which they organized all the logistics to transfer hashish from Morocco to the shores of the province of Malaga. There are 20 detainees and another 13 people investigated, as well as 900 kilos of hashish seized.
Most of the homes used by the organization are located in the Marbella urbanization El Paraíso and in those of Balcón de Buenavista and Saladillo, in Estepona. In both cases, average property prices easily exceed one million euros. “They are huge houses, with many rooms and a lot of luxury,” say sources of the investigation. In addition to saving the payment for accommodation, this formula allowed those now arrested to go unnoticed by the authorities, since they avoided giving any type of identification when making a rental or sale contract for any of the luxury villas.
The criminals took advantage of the fact that the buildings were empty to squat, arousing numerous neighborhood complaints (in fact, the Marbella Local Police has a unit specialized in preventing the squatting of homes made up of thirty agents).
The organization had quadrants to distribute to all its members through the housing network to avoid any attempt to evict. When the owners —whether they were banks or foreign families— knew what was happening in their houses, the squatters agreed to leave as long as they were paid a high amount in return.
The organization was led by a Spanish citizen with a long history of drug trafficking and a resident of Campo de Gibraltar. His lieutenant came from Cuba. He was the one who led the branch dedicated to squatting houses, a task he carried out with the support of several compatriots. His first activity in drug trafficking was that of petaqueros, that is, supplying gasoline to narcolanchas that cross the Strait of Gibraltar loaded with narcotic substances. “With the money they were obtaining and without housing expenses, then they took a step forward,” say sources from the Civil Guard. From then on, they dedicated themselves to bringing hashish from Morocco.
To do this, they used hidden recreational boats – with double bottoms – in which they loaded the bales of hashish, which they collected on the high seas from semi-rigid boats from North Africa. After the transshipment, they went to different marinas in the province of Malaga “where they secretly” unloaded the drug. Other times, however, they preferred to do it on one of the beaches on the Malaga coast, where they unloaded. To locate the best places for these downloads they had the support of local personnel.
The operation, called Kroll, has culminated in the arrest of 20 people and another 13 investigated, as well as the seizure of 900 kilos of hashish, 2,275 liters of fuel, three all-terrain vehicles and four boats. In addition, eight records have been made in Marbella, Estepona, and in the Cadiz towns of San Roque and La Línea de la Concepción. The case is in the hands of the Court of First Instance and Instruction Number 4 of Estepona.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.