DRUG dealers scout out families in Malaga to grow marijuana.
They say that drug crime is neither created nor destroyed, only transformed and in the case of narcos in Malaga, they have masterminded a new way to cultivate their dope, by recruiting families to do the dirty work for them.
For around €2,000 euros, respectable Malaga citizens have fallen into the trap of earning easy money by converting their homes into cannabis nurseries.
The €2000 is a far cry from the 150,000 that the gangs make themselves. But the business is still profitable on both sides.
The phenomenon has not gone unnoticed by the police, who have intensified the fight against the green gold rush following the boom the illegal trade has experienced of late in the province of Malaga.
According to Inspector Fernando Moreno, head of Group I of the Judicial Police of the North Police Station of Palma-Palmilla, investigators are currently working on unearthing the methods used by the illicit organisations to ‘recruit carers’ and ‘provide them with the material means necessary to cultivate the substance.’
“Those recruited are the scapegoat, the figurehead, the straw man or woman who takes care of the plants. But a knowledgeable member of the gang has to explain how to do it,” Moreno said.
Malaga drug dealers are taking advantage of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 which has left many families desperate for ‘easy money’.
“There are already hundreds of families who struggle to get to the end of the month and offer their home for growing marijuana,” the police Inspector explained.
However, at a huge price, as if exposed or discovered by the police, these ‘recruited carers’ face arrest.
The drug that is grown on the Costa del Sol – and which is in high demand in northern Europe – ‘is of high quality’ due to the climate and the fact that investment is also low.
“From one plant you can get about 100 grams of marijuana bud. The price of each one is €5.04 and you can obtain three harvests a year. We are talking about a lot of money,” Moreno said.
The largest distributors of cannabis are the Netherlands and Britain, and in Andalucia, Almeria is the province that remains in the limelight due to its high number of greenhouses that allow the drug to be hidden.
“The traffickers have the infrastructure that allows them to turn a tomato field into a pot field without it being noticed,” Moreno explained.
Experts estimate that the succulent marijuana business is expected to be worth up to €5 billion in Spain by 2025.