Criminal gang based in Cordoba hid tons of drugs inside fake tomatoes

Police have arrested a gang which hid drugs inside fake tomatoes and used trucks to transport them between Spain and France.

In the joint Operation Califa Trucks between Guardia Civil and Policia Nacional, ten people were arrested.

Officers seized 22,370 kilograms of cannabis resin, mobile phones and seven vehicles the gang was using to move around in. 

“They had concealed the drug inside fake tomatoes to make it difficult to detect,” police said.

Drugs In Fake Tomatoes
The drugs were found inside false tomatoes.

The gang was based in Cordoba and operated in different provinces, but would primarily move the drugs across the Spain-France border. 

Police said the gang’s leader lived in Cordoba and used a ‘circle of trust’, which determined the ‘different levels of the criminal network’. 

“The criminal organization had a complex structure, rich in human, technical and material resources and with a strong economic capacity,” officers said.

The criminals worked under the guise of a legal business where they used ‘straw people’ with no other responsibility other than to appear as managers of the companies used for real estate, rental and acquisition of vehicles. 

Drugs Inside Fake Tomatoes
Officers raided warehouses in an industrial estate in a Malaga town.

Police then made their move on January 10 when they discovered the gang intended to transport a large drug shipment from an industrial estate in a town in the Malaga province. 

“They moved several pallets of boxes that apparently contained tomatoes to a van,” police said.

“When intercepting the van, it was found that it was carrying 2,600 kilos of hashish distributed in several boxes of false tomatoes.”

Officers then searched warehouses across that industrial estate where they found more 19,700 kilos of hashish inside 18 large pallets of tomatoes. 

Of the ten detainees, eight had already been imprisoned by order of the judicial authority.

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