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Massive drug-smuggling gang finally thwarted in Tenerife 

Spanish police have uncovered one of the most active criminal organisations in the introduction of hashish into the Canary Islands following years of landing the drugs on holiday beaches, many times in broad daylight and in front of stunned sunbathers.

The Civil Guard says the gang introduced about three tons of hashish per month into the archipelago, including in Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria.

A spokesman said they were so brazen that they didn’t care if tourists saw what they were doing and didn’t even bother to pick beaches in more isolated areas.

They were finally caught trying to land another stash of hashish on the beach of Venegueras in the south of Gran Canaria.

“The drug traffickers even went to the extent of staking the location out, arriving at the beach several days in advance and posing as campers,” said a spokesman for the Civil Guard.

Eight people then carried the 47 bales off a semi-rigid boat into a parked van and then used a series of cars as “shuttles” to transport the hashish to another hiding place to await distribution.

Eighteen people have been arrested, all but one of them being remanded in custody, and including the Moroccan leader of the organisation, aged 35 and identified as MS.Police said he protected himself so well that he often had up to 20 bodyguards surrounding him.

Tenerife was the main destination for the marijuana which was smuggled over from Morocco.

“The gang had extensive contacts throughout the islands and they were paid high levels of commission,” said the spokesman.

Those arrested include the skippers of boats used during the operations and a Spanish woman living in Lanzarote.