A total of 44 people, including a prison officer, have been arrested in an operation in which a drug trafficking organisation made up of members of the Italian Ndrangheta and the Spanish Castañas clan has been dismantled and 2,744 kilograms of hashish have been seized, according to a statement by Spanish police.
In the operation carried out by Spain’s Civil Guard, the National Police and the Italian Carabinieri 34 homes were searched in Spain and Italy, in which in addition to the hashish 2.5 kilograms of marijuana, 72,525 euros in cash, twelve firearms and fourteen vehicles, among other effects were seized.
The investigation began in March 2016, when contacts were detected between Italian citizens and the leaders of the Castañas clan in the province of Malaga, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
The collaboration with the Italian Police determined that the Italian men belonged to the Ndrangheta.
The organisation was led by a member of the Calabrian mafia, based in Sotogrande in the Cádiz region in the south of Spain, who acted as an intermediary between the drug suppliers and the rest of the band’s members in Italy.
The hashish was moved from Spain to different countries in Europe, mainly Italy, hidden inside the trucks of transport companies.
In June 2018, after the escape of a member of the Castañas clan from a hospital in Algeciras near the city of Cadiz, the fugitives were tracked down and arrested in a rural hotel in Jimena de la Frontera Cádiz.
After these arrests, the investigators discovered that the criminal organisation was plotting the escape of the group’s leader from a maximum security prison with the help of a prison officer, whom they bribed in exchange for logistic support.
In a second phase of the operation, last April, nine people were arrested in the towns of Los Barrios, Algeciras, Guadiaro, Marbella, Torremolinos and Malaga, and four others in Italy.
The detained men have been charged with the crimes of belonging to a criminal organisation, bribery, money laundering, illegal possession of arms, and falsification of a public documents.