Crime & Justice

Police break up drug ring using aerial, underwater drones to smuggle cargo

Algeciras, Spain, Jul 4 (EFE).- Police in southern Spain have dismantled an international drug trafficking organization that was using aerial and semi-submersible drones capable of transporting up to 200 kilos of drugs each trip.

The operation in the province of Cadiz resulted in eight arrests, including a father and son with the technological knowledge to develop these sophisticated unmanned vehicles, the police told a press conference on Monday.

The investigation began in April 2021, when French police alerted their Spanish counterparts that there was an organization in the town of Castellar de la Frontera that had supplied French criminal gangs with prepared vehicles and sophisticated gadgets to smuggle drugs.

Officers found seemingly unused warehouses that were allegedly being used as workshops by the organization and verified how the suspects allegedly welcomed representatives from criminal organizations from different areas of Spain and other countries such as Italy, France and Denmark.

During the searches, police seized 10 vehicles and six large drones with up to 12 engines and a range of 30 kilometers, enough to cross the Strait of Gibraltar autonomously, as well as drugs and cash.

They also seized three unmanned semi-submersible machines – one finished and two under construction – which were allegedly due to be delivered to a French group to transport cocaine.

These devices, known as “underwater drones”, are a kind of surfboard that travels on the surface of the water, with a tank underneath that can carry between 150 and 200 kilos of cargo.

This is the first time that such a vehicle has been seized.

Both devices, which were equipped with GPS, could be operated remotely from any location.

During the investigation, officers also identified several Moroccan and Danish nationals who were allegedly sending significant quantities of hashish from southern Spain to northern Europe to criminal organizations largely made up of North Africans, known as “Mocro-maffia”.

According to the police, the operation shows that drug traffickers are becoming more sophisticated with their operations “with a very high technological level” to try to “outwit” authorities.

In addition, they believe that the network had been working for two years on the design of these drones, and that they were intercepted before they were operational. EFE


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