Dozens of people in Andalucia have been arrested for pretending to deliver ‘humanitarian aid’ to Ukraine as a way to sell cannabis across Europe.
Guardia Civil on Monday said 30 people of Spanish, Ukrainian, German and Moroccan descent were arrested as part of the major drug bust.
“They hid the narcotic substance in cardboard boxes, camouflaging the drug as supplies and humanitarian aid destined for Ukraine,” a police spokesperson said.
“These boxes were transported in vans that pretended to be part of a solidarity campaign, thus trying to go unnoticed by police and border controls.”
Police first caught wind of a group of Ukrainian nationals gathering large quantities of cannabis on the Costa del Sol and then selling it across Europe.
The group travelled to different parts of Andalucia to collect the already packaged marijuana, and then stored them in an apartment in Mijas.
Police first arrested four people who were driving in Ukraine-licensed vans and transporting 109 kilograms of weed.
Guardia Civil officers then raided 11 houses in the province of Malaga where they seized 740,000 euros, 25,250 US dollars, 20kg of marijuana buds, 1000 marijuana plants, as well as weapons, bullet-proof vests and GPS tracking devices.
In total, across two phases of Operation Marlin, authorities found 2,500 cannabis plants, six guns and €800,000 in cash.
Those arrested face charges including drug trafficking, possessing illegal weapons and belonging to a criminal organisation.
Two suspects who also attempted to flee during their arrest when they rammed a police vehicle with their car, causing minor injuries to two police officers, faced additional charges of assaulting an officer.