A WELL-established expat father and son have been implicated in a massive drug smuggling clampdown in Spain.
The Scandinavian pair, Lars and Joakim Broberg, are among the 71 people so far arrested in the police operation spanning both Spain and Sweden.
Real estate boss Lars, 80 – the husband of Marbella’s mayor, Angeles Muñoz – was picked up for questioning in February, while his son Joakim, 45, was arrested in Brazil, last month.
This investigation – dubbed Operation Mueble (Operation Furniture) – began in 2018, and has been divided into four phases.
It was launched when the Swedish authorities asked Spain’s Policia Nacional to investigate a group of drug traffickers coming from the Costa del Sol.
They claimed that up to 50 deaths a year could be linked to a settling of scores between the gang and other Scandinavian rivals.
When police raided a series of warehouses in 2018, they found 55,000 heroin substitute pills and 85 kg of cannabis.
The products arrived hidden in furniture collected from the San Pedro del Alcantara industrial estate, near Marbella, and transported by the removal company Roslagen.
Suspecting a new shipment, the Policia Nacional raided the company’s warehouse and arrested the foreman and an assistant while they were preparing to move an additional 265 kilos of hashish.
They also found four kilos of cannabis in one of their homes.
During the raid, in 2018, they also found an alarming array of guns, including two submachine guns, eight handguns, a rifle and a hand grenade.
The company, Roslagen Spain SL, which also had a base in Torrevieja, on the Costa Blanca, also had over €1.8 million frozen in bank accounts, while €592,000 in cash was also seized.
A total of 50 vehicles have also been impounded along with properties worth over €14 million.
They allegedly arrested the owner of the transport company, Mikael Rene Rosenquist, 54, who is based between Malmo, in Sweden, and Alicante.
The wealthy businessman owns a number of companies in Sweden, in addition to Roslagen.
A further raid of the Broberg’s Wasa Consulting company in February meanwhile led to the arrests of six people and the seizure of documents, which police are still investigating.
The same Marbella office, in Centro Plaza, in Nueva Andalucia, also held a series of documents for a string of companies – believed to be 17 in total – owned by son Joakim.
Broberg has defended the absolute legality of his activity.
He insisted he was collaborating with the investigators, ensuring he gave the police everything they needed.
He ended up being released with various charges the same month. These have not yet been confirmed.
His son was harder to track down and it wasn’t until April this year that police were forced to issue a search and capture warrant for his arrest
In July 2021, after five months of fleeing Spain, Joakim was arrested in Brazil for allegedly ‘belonging to an organisation dedicated to drug trafficking’, claimed website Marbella Confidencial.
The court dealing with the case is Spain’s Court 6 of the Audiencia Nacional, in Madrid, which concentrates on money laundering cases.
The information about his arrest first came to light on the Brazilian television programme Fala Brasil, on Record TV.
The operation centres around a huge drug smuggling ring that imported drugs from Morocco to San Pedro attached to the hulls of pleasure craft.
The drugs were also imported in modified surfboards powered by underwater propulsion engines.
In total, 25 bales of hashish weighing around 500 kilos were found attached to one surfboard alone.
According to police sources, the Swedish organisation bought numerous properties in Malaga at high prices in order to launder the money.
In addition, 64 luxury properties and plots of land were located and seized.
The total amount of property and assets recovered is estimated to be well over €55 million.
The investigators believe that the ultimate aim was to transfer the money to third party companies in tax havens where luxury goods were purchased or loans were granted to the companies based in Spain, thus laundering the money.
In February, Marbella mayor Angeles Muñoz insisted that neither she, her family or the town hall were involved. “There’s no link, neither mine personally, nor, of course, as a mayor, nor within the municipal administration,” she insisted.
“When the secret of the investigation is lifted, everything will be in black and white”, she added.