Trafficking ring which illegally transported more than 400 animals from Eastern Europe to Spain is busted

OVER 400 animals, mainly high-value young cats and dogs, have been rescued from an illegal trading gang in Spain.

The Policia Nacional, Guardia Civil, the Mossos d’Esquadra and Barcelona police launched a joint operation to bring down the criminals which resulted in the arrest of 13 people following a dozen raids last month.

The suspects face charges of animal abuse, fraud, document forgery and money laundering.

Properties in Spain and overseas have also been seized as well as bank accounts used to launder money made from the illegal trafficking operation.

The gang is suspected of illegally importing animals from eastern Europe in small, poorly ventilated vehicles over distances of more than 2,000 kilometres.


The police forces said the unhealthy conditions led to some of the animals developing infectious diseases, with some dying.

Authorities believe the gang forged documents to misrepresent sick animals as being healthy when they were sold.

Police began their probe investigation at the end of 2020 after receiving complaints about poor conditions at a Barcelona pet shop.

33 sick dogs were rescued as police found that the animals’ documents ‘had obvious anomalies’, which led to an investigation to find out where they came from.

Inquiries revealed the gang was active in Barcelona, Madrid, Andorra and eastern Europe.

One of the gang members was a vet who certified the animals were healthy enough to be sold and also advised the rest of the criminal crew about concealing records and deceiving animal controls.

The suspects face charges of animal abuse, fraud, document forgery and money laundering.


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