Sun. Jan 17th, 2021

The Christmas holidays have always been key dates on the drug traffickers’ calendar, who are overwhelmed by greater demand and have to work piecemeal.

A tradition that also forces the Police to be alert. The island of Lanzarote this week has been the epicenter of a major operation in which six members of a powerful network of drug traffickers led by individuals of Croatian nationality who smuggled cocaine into the Canary archipelago fell .

In the operation, which culminated this Saturday, a cache of 268 kilos of cocaine – valued at more than eight million euros – was intervened in Lanzarote, one of the largest seized on the island. Investigators believe that this cache was part of a larger shipment, since about 27 kilos were found floating inside a backpack rescued from the sea.

This joint operation of the National Police, Civil Guard and Tax Agency had the collaboration of the US anti-drug agency (DEA). Among those detained is a historic Galician boatman, Emiliano Bermúdez Montero, with a long history of trafficking in cocaine and hashish.

He was in charge of the landing of the drug from the mother ship, chartered by the organization that had connections with South American cartels that provided them with the merchandise on a regular basis.

The investigation of this network led by Croats, although no member of its leadership has yet been arrested, began in early June, when the organization based in the Canary Islands was planning the introduction of a significant amount of cocaine in Lanzarote from South America.

Using for this, pleasure boats. With information corroborated by the DEA, it was possible to identify the pyramidal structure of the group, in which each of its members had perfectly entrusted functions, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

The organization had an important infrastructure of pleasure boats located in Tenerife and Lanzarote. The access route for the illicit merchandise consisted of sending the cargo to a strategic point located several miles close to the Canary Islands archipelago. There the merchandise was collected in a boat that had previously left Tenerife.

Later, after planning different marine coordinates near the islands of La Graciosa and La Alegranza, with several zodiac-type vessels, different drug transshipments were carried out to ensure the transport of cocaine in Lanzarote and mislead the Police.

Once the drug was introduced on the coast, the organization hid it in luxury homes to ensure its concealment and custody. In one of them, located in Tías, the Police set up a surveillance device and detected the departure of a vehicle driven by one of the members of the organization. Once inspected, 95 kilos of cocaine were found and the driver was arrested.

After this first seizure, the final exploitation of the operation was carried out, making another five arrests and carrying out four house searches (two on the island of Lanzarote and the rest two in Tenerife).

In these searches, another 146 kilograms more of cocaine, 9 kilograms of hashish, as well as numerous computer and telecommunications equipment, such as a GPS tracking device and various telephones, were intervened. In addition, two vehicles and a semi-rigid boat have been intervened

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