THE Spanish National Police this week dealt a deadly blow to an Albanian drug-trafficking network with 107 suspected members arrested in Castellon and Catalunya.
In addition to the arrests, officers seized one tonne of ripe marihuana buds already packaged and ready for sale, as well as 25,000 cannabis plants located in several warehouses.
Spokespeople for the force report that Albanian traffickers have gradually infiltrated the European marihuana market over the last three years and have since become one of the main international mafias operating in Spain.
The operation, carried out in cooperation with the Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra force, German and Albanese police, and Europol, was launched in December 2020 when a lorry carrying 140 kilos of cannabis bud was intercepted in Germany.
An investigation revealed that the drugs had been produced in Spain by a family clan based both in Germany and between northern Castellon and Tarragona (Catalunya), ready for sale in northern Europe at five times the price they would have fetched here.
The authorities also discovered that the suspects allegedly bribed employees of estate agencies in order to gain access to empty warehouses at low prices and located in remote areas.
They also reportedly paid electricity company operatives to obtain forged documents regarding power supplies, while they connected to the network illegally.
Officers of the combined police forces carried out 42 simultaneous swoops in the provinces of Castellon, Tarragona, Barcelona and Girona.