‘Chestnuts’ drugs gang cracked by police

RECOVERED: One of the high-powered speedboats

IN a police operation that involved more than 150 officers, police in Spain and Morocco have caught a gang of smugglers that used a selection of high-powered speedboats to transport drugs and other booty into Europe.

The main ingredient of the drugs haul was hash, a popular form of cannabis, and its understood that each of the boats used had the capability to carry at least three tons of the illegal substance.

Known by officers on both sides of the Strait as ‘The Chestnuts’ they were the largest smugglers of hash working in the Spanish province next to Gibraltar.

It seems they used the money from the sale of the drugs to fund extravagant lifestyles, buying expensive sports cars and property and spending time in luxury hotels.

Heavily armed officers backed up by helicopters and the use of an infrared camera filmed the raid on one of the gangsters homes where police found a total of 16 cars, several guns and approximately €350,000 in cash.

A ton of hash was also discovered – some of it found in baby cots – and as a result 24 bank accounts were closed down.

A significant amount of sterling cash was also found on the premises, which indicates those arrested possibly had links to British criminals or with businesses in Gibraltar where the currency is spent.

Spanish police said in a statement: “The drivers carrying the narcotic on the beach would take them to hiding places, known as coves or nurseries. They had been ordered to attack any vehicle that attempted to intercept them, be it police or rival drug dealers.”

They went on to confirm that, “Cooperation with the Moroccan authorities was key to the arrest of some of the organisations leaders who had fled there.”