Spanish police on Monday announced the arrest of a group of eight criminals who were developing underwater drones to transport drugs across the Strait of Gibraltar, between the European continent and North Africa, according to the investigation.
According to the corporation, this was the first time an underwater drone was used to traffic narcotics. Three vessels of the type were seized, two of which are still under construction and a third is close to being completed.
“They built these vehicles in an artisanal way, in addition to implanting ‘double bottoms’ in vehicles, and they found other means to hide the transport of narcotics”, informed the authorities. According to investigators, the detainees had clients from all kinds of criminal organizations and operated the assembly of equipment at industrial plants in Cádiz, in southwestern Spain.
The investigation began in April last year, when the police discovered that the group was responsible for the technical and logistical supply of other gangs. In addition to underwater drones, the group also developed other vehicles with a payload capacity ranging from 150 kg to 200 kg.
During the 14 months of investigation, the police identified that the criminals had clients in countries such as Italy, Denmark and France, as well as several regions of Spain.
According to the police, eight people were arrested in Cádiz, Malaga and Barcelona and will be indicted for drug trafficking and criminal association. Also seized were 145 kg of hashish, 8 kg of marijuana, more than €150,000 in cash, 10 vehicles and six drones capable of traveling 30 km.
As part of the same investigation, police claimed to have identified a number of people, mostly Moroccans and Danes, who were allegedly shipping significant amounts of hashish from southern Spain to northern Europe. The recipient of these drug shipments would be a North African criminal organization called the Mocro-Mafia, police say.