€16 million Cash & 1.6 Tonnes of Cocaine Seized in “Messi Gang” Arrests


Top Shotter

The Spanish police working with Europol have arrested a notorious smuggler called ‘Messi’

This name is paying homage to the football striker due to his capability to score.

But in this case not past goalkeepers, past border customs.

The evasive smuggler had earned a reputation for success.

But today He was arrested along with other members of his gang.

This happened in 40 raids across Spain and Amsterdam with help from Europol.

The Spanish Police dismantled the criminal gang they say controlled cocaine trafficking through the Port of Algeciras.

History of Fear

Back in 2018 a child belonging to a friend of the importer “Messi” was killed.

This happened during the arrest of the childs father on a boat and the boy fell into the water and was hit by a police vessel.

Following the child’s death police in Algeciras the police increased patrols and got reinforcements.

This was out of fear of revenge for the death of the child belonging to a smuggler.

That incident demonstrated the power and influence the Narco gang have in the country.

The Raids And Arrests

More than 16.5 million euros cash has been seized.

Police say it’s the largest amount of cash taken from a criminal organisation in Spain in the last 10 years.

28 people have been arrested and more than 1,600 kilograms (1.56 tonnes) of cocaine was seized.

Top Striker

The organisation had among its members the worker of a container terminal in the port.

The smuggler became known among the members of criminal organisations as,

“Messi de la Torre”

Understandably given the international connections the organisation had, during the investigation police had the support of Europol.

This criminal organisation under investigation had a complex corporate structure.

Police even found links to the Italian Mafia.

The Importing of Drugs on a Industrial Scale

The estimated value of the assets discovered so far being more than 5 million euros.

Those investigated had real estate assets with the value of the more than 7 million euros.

The gang had people working in different areas within the port area of Algeciras.

Messi they said was timely and always delivered from South America.

On April 29, it was learned that the gang intended to introduce a large consignment of cocaine

This shipment was hidden among the legal merchandise of a “front” company dedicated to the fish trade.

Fishy story

Once the container which was importing frozen mackerel came through the Port of Algeciras and it was inspected by customs.

1,616 kg of cocaine were seized inside.

Among the detainees there is a Spaniard who was on the run from Spanish justice.

He was arrested while he was residing with his family, in a house in Amsterdam (Holland).

Following information received a arrest was carried out under a European Arrest and Surrender Order (OEDE).

The barons arrest was executed with the support of Dutch Police officers.

This individual had been on the run since 2017 due to his involvement in another drug importation operation.

In relation to the previous seizure the Civil Guard seized 3,500 kg of cocaine in Estepona (Malaga).

Mafia Money

The gang had international connections.

Because of this during the investigation they had the support of the Anti-Corruption Police

Also involved was the Economic and Financial Crime EFECC) of Europol.

Many suggested alleged links of corruption that may exist.

The investigation was initiated last August and has been coordinated by Investigating Court no. 3 of Algeciras.

Operation Overdose

Operation Overdose was executed by Spanish Police and discovered the “first” hashish factory located in the national territory and it has now been dismantled.

Six people have been arrested for the alleged crimes of drug production and trafficking; and belonging to a criminal organisation.

Nearly 8,300 kilos (8.3 tonnes) of narcotic substances and industrial machinery specially designed to convert marijuana into ‘hashish powder’ have been seized.

The Smuggler

The General director of the Civil Guard, María Gámez, said this morning at the headquarters of the Murcia Command.

“This is one of the first factories of hashish and its derivatives in the national territory was dismantled.”

The investigation, as reported by Gámez, began at the end of last year

Officials who make up the Internal Security Group of a local prison contacted the police

The Guard told them that one of the prisoners was an important drug trafficker of Cadiz origin.

He had a long history of drug trafficking in the Campo de Gibraltar.


From that moment, the agents of the Anti-Drug Organized Crime Team (EDOA) focused the investigation on this main suspect.

This allowed them to know that he had a network of collaborators abroad.

The General director explained that after months of investigation,

Police say agents identified one of these collaborators who they learned had a prominent role within the organisation

Connections In Crime

The Spanish fugitive had served a sentence for four years together with the main suspect and leader of the the criminal organisation now dismantled.

Investigators found out that this person was not only engaged in capturing and manipulating people into bringing drugs into the prison,

He also managed his small drug distribution network abroad, mainly cocaine, and also hashish.

For this, he had a woman, a Brazilian national, who supposedly sold the drug to one of the clients in the place where she worked.

Focusing the investigation on his movements, the civil guards detected his frequent visits to an industrial warehouse in the Alicante municipality of Bigastro.

The Process

The gang used industrial machinery designed to turn marijuana into hashish resin.

Gámez has assured that a search was made in this warehouse, in which a machine was located,

Mean Machines

This image is one and it is specially designed to turn previously processed marijuana into powder.

That powder, or ‘hash pollen’, after transformation processes, adding additives and applying heat, turns into a rudimentary ‘hashish resin’.

It is a novel machinery, in terms of its implementation in national territory,

directly manufacturing high quality hashish in Spain.

Industrial Scale

For practical purposes, the general director pointed out, it is the improvement of those known as ‘Ketama Drums’, with which the plants are pulverized in an artisanal way.

several large sacks containing pulverized yellow substance (hashish pollen), also bagged in units of one kilo weight, were seized.

In addition to numerous cardboard drawers and raffia sacks with a large amount of cannabis plants in different stages of processing.

Two freezer chests filled with cannabis plant bites and marijuana buds were also discovered. In total, about 8,300 kilos of narcotic substances have been seized.

Plantation Discovered

Farm Raided After Checks

The Civil Guard has confiscated 62,000 cannabis plants in a hemp plantation in Almería

Spain has many coffee. shops and a tolerant attitude to cannabis.

But that being said they still have it regulated and gangs still exist.

The general director of the Civil Guard, María Gámez, explained this morning in Almería the results of this important operation against marijuana trafficking in the province.

The wintering farm has been located in Lucainena de las Torres (Almería), where the civil guards have found a plantation in an advanced state of growth

Gámez has also offered details of a second operation in which the Civil Guard has intervened 400 kilos of hashish and arrested nine people

The Civil Guard intervenes 62,000 cannabis plants in a hemp plantation in Almería
The director of the Civil Guard, María Gámez, presented this morning in Almería

Operation Virgil

The results of an important operation called Virgil in which 62,000 cannabis plants were found on a farm in Lucainena de la Torre (Almería).

The person in charge of this plantation has been arrested.

Gámez explained at a press conference that the finding occurred during one of the inspections carried out by the Civil Guard to control the cultivation of industrial hemp.

During the inspection, the agents locate a greenhouse with cannabis crops in an advanced stage of growth.

Destruction of Crop

The general director of the Corps has detailed that this type of action entails a great effort in the process for its destruction.

Gámez has pointed out that the cultivation of hemp is allowed exclusively for industrial purposes.

All harvest need the express authorisation of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS).

They are only granted for scientific, medical or research purposes.

Operation Menthan

On the other hand, María Gámez has also unveiled a second relevant operation in Almería against the international trafficking of hashish and marijuana.

The dismantled organization was made up of Albanian citizens who operated from the west of Almeria.

Gámez has specified that the Menthan operation has resulted in the arrest of nine people and 400 kilos of hashish that they intended to transport to Italy.

The Crackdown

Police carried out nine searches  in Aguadulce and Vícar.

This is where police believe the gang directed and coordinated their criminal activities.

The investigation, according to Gámez, has revealed that the detainees were part of a faction of an international organization with connections to the Italian mafia,

Linked to  “Sacra Corona Unita”.

Gámez has stressed that the operation began in April of last year.

The break came when at a police checkpoint on the A-92 highway.

They stopped and searched a vehicle and they proceeded to arrest a person who was transporting 26 kg of cannabis.

Continuing with the investigations, the agents were able to determine that behind this transport there was an organised and highly specialised criminal network.

They controlled a important part of the production of cannabis from the west of Almeria that they were in charge of sending to third countries.

Locating the Boss

The police discovered the leader of the plot had set up his operations centre on the terrace of a bar in Vícar.

This is where he met with buyers arriving from other countries or gave orders to his subordinates.

Workers spent the day moving from one place to another. side to side to close deals with drug producers.

The general director of the Civil Guard has pointed out that it was during the surveillance to which the members of the organization were subjected,

This is when the agents were able to observe how they moved to an industrial warehouse in the same town. There, between strong security measures,

a large device was loaded onto a truck.

Following a short tail the truck was intercepted.

Police found that what they had loaded was a high-voltage current transformer that had been modified and that it housed 400kg of hashish carefully vacuum packed.

For this reason, the Civil Guard proceeded to arrest the members of the organization.

The operation has been developed by the Organized Crime and Anti-Drug Team of the Civil Guard of Almería, and directed by the Investigating Court number 3 of Almería.

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