Drugs from Colombia were treated in laboratories in Torrevieja and Orihuela Costa

Guardia Civil and the Customs Agency have arrested 20 men and a woman in Torrevieja, Orihuela Costa and El Campello for being members of an important international drug trafficking organisation. The suspects are of Spanish, Colombian, British, Moroccan, Serbian and Bulgarian nationalities.

Operation “Alicafé” started almost a year ago when officers detected a shipment of cocaine at ‘Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas’ airport destined for Torrevieja. It was very pure and mixed with coffee to make it harder for sniffer dogs to detect.

The Organised Crime and Antidrug Team (EDOA) found the shipments were being prepared and sent from Colombia, sent by post then taken to laboratories in Torrevieja or Orihuela Costa, where the cocaine was cut down to make more doses then distributed around the Vega Baja.

The group communicated using encrypted applications rather than telephones, so the investigation required specialist officers. It had connections with criminal networks in the UK so the Guardia Civil collaborated with the British police as well as the Colombian authorities.

Another organisation member came from the UK to Alicante to buy large quantities of drugs and take it back. To pay for this he had robbed an armoured car of about €200,000, which led to his arrest by the Guardia Civil.

The arrests were made in three phases. There were 11 properties searched in Torrevieja and Orihuela Costa, and 21 arrests: 5 Spaniards (ages 24-55), 12 Colombians (ages 27-52), one from the UK (age 44), a Moroccan (38), a Serbian (27) and a Bulgarian woman (24). The Guardia Civil accuse them of drug trafficking, possession of weapons, robbery with violence and intimidation, and belonging to a criminal organisation.

After appearing at a Torrevieja court they have all been sent to prison apart from one who has to present himself to the court on the 1st and 15th of every month.

The Guardia Civil dismantled two drug laboratories and a distribution centre for 10 points of sale in Alicante province. They seized over 12 kilos of cocaine, 320 grams of amphetamine, 3.4 kilos of cutting substances and small quantities of marijuana and hashish. the organisation had €30,000 and £51,960 in cash, a pen pistol ready to be fired, a top of the range car and various laboratory equipment. It is estimated they could have made over a million euros from the ten points of sale.