International gang hid massive marijuana farms inside Spanish villas
Spanish police who smashed their way into a luxury villa found it was hiding a massive marijuana plantation behind its facade.
Thirty-one people have been arrested for running the network which supplied the drugs direct to the UK.
Police had to use sled-gehammers to smash their way through false walls to reveal the elaborate maze of marijuana rooms behind them.
“The cultivation of the drug was carried out in 15 plantations, located in eight provinces, inside industrial warehouses and luxury houses,” said a spokesman for the Spanish police. “The narcotic substance prepared for consumption was sent to the United Kingdom hidden in packages sent through courier companies.”
Raids were carried out at 21 properties in Spain where police seized about 30,000 marijuana plants, 45,000 euros, a semiautomatic pistol, ammunition and a cash machine.
“Members of the organisation totally transformed the interior of the warehouses and the villas to install the crops and bypass the connection to the electrical network causing a fraud of hundreds of thousands of euros,” said the spokesman.
The criminal group was mainly led by Chinese citizens who grew the drugs on a large-scale specifically for the UK market. However, those arrested are of other nationalities as well.
Following a year of investigations, the raids were carried out across Spain, including in Vizcaya, Burgos, Valladolid, León, Zamora, Salamanca, Madrid and Guadalajara.
The gang went to elaborate measures to avoid detection, using stolen documents to rent vehicles and houses.
Each member had their own specific role, including to look for villas or warehou-ses which were in an isolated position. Others got the marijuana plants and seeds whilst their colleagues got the places ready to turn into plantations.
Each “farm” was guarded by some of the men around the clock and poor Vietnamese citizens were recruited to get the marijuana ready for shipment and sale.
Police said the gang was very aware of being raided by rival groups so employed Ukrainian bodyguards to protect them.