Home NEWS Gang that stuffed 20 tons of tomatoes with hashish busted

Gang that stuffed 20 tons of tomatoes with hashish busted

A criminal gang based in Cordoba that filled over 20 tons of tomatoes with hashish bound for France has been busted by the Guardia Civil

Agents of the Guardia Civil and the National Police, involved in “Operation Califa Trucks”, have arrested ten people as alleged perpetrators of a crime of drug trafficking between Cordoba in Spain and France.

The operation involved the seizure of 22,370 kilograms of cannabis resin, numerous state-of-the-art mobile phones and seven vehicles that the criminal organisation used in their activities..

They had ‘cleverly’ concealed the drug inside fake tomatoes to make it difficult to detect. There are ten detainees, eight of whom have already been imprisoned by order of a judge.

Joint research in Córdoba, Málaga and Cádiz

The operation began after authorities were alerted to the existence of a criminal organisation, based in Córdoba, and operating in different provinces, which was allegedly engaged in drug trafficking mainly between Spain and France.

As the investigation progressed, and as a result of the collaboration between the Guardia Civil and the National Police in the provinces of Córdoba, Málaga and Cádiz, it was possible to identify the main members that made up the criminal organisation that was dedicated to the trafficking of large amounts of the drug.


This organisation was strongly rooted in Córdoba, the ring leader, who resided in the capital, used a circle of trust with which he formed the different levels of the criminal network- similar to a military unit.

One member was in charge of the logistics necessary for the operation of the organisation. Another member- a resident of the capital- was in charge of those tasks necessary for the transport of the drugs. There was also a ‘security’ person, who would mainly hand out ‘punishments’ to other gang members or anyone that caused a problem for the gang.

The investigation made it possible to find out that the criminal organisation consisted of a complex structure, rich in human, technical and material resources and with a strong economic capacity- they had large amounts of cash reserves.

This, together with extensive logistics, hidden behind the apparently ‘legal’ business, greatly hindered the operational and analytical work carried out on the different entities that it comprised. For this purpose, they used ‘stooges’, people with no other responsibility than to appear as managers of the companies used for the rental and/or acquisition of vehicles, real estate, etc.+

Large drug shipment

On January 10, investigators obtained information that the organisation intended to distribute a large drug shipment. Armed with this knowledge, officers managed to detect one of the vehicles used by the gang in an industrial estate in a town in the province of Malaga, Andalucia.

The gang were spotted loading several pallets of boxes that apparently contained tomatoes to a van that, once loaded, set off. When intercepting the van, it was found that it was carrying 2,600 kilos of hashish distributed in several boxes of false tomatoes. The driver and passenger of the vehicle were arrested and taken into custody.

In view of this intervention, investigators suspected that a greater quantity of drugs could be hidden in various warehouses in an industrial estate in the town of Malaga.

Agents from the drugs squad proceeded to search them, locating another approximately 19,700 kilos of hashish resin inside one warehouse. The drugs were hidden in 18 large pallets that contained balls of hashish that pretended to be tomatoes. Officers arrested two people who tried to hide under a truck.

Faced with the discovery of these two large caches of hashish resin, the agents proceeded to dig deeper into the operation. This took place on January 11 and 12, when four searches in the province of Cordoba were jointly and simultaneously carried out. Subsequently, the leader of the organisation and its main members were arrested. The operation continued with the arrest, on the 17th, of three other people involved. The investigation remains open and new arrests have not been ruled out.

The investigation has been carried out, from Córdoba, by the Organised Crime and Anti-Drug Team (EDOA) of the Judicial Police of the Civil Guard and Group I of Narcotics of the Provincial Brigade of Judicial Police of the National Police, together with the Drug and Organized Crime Unit (UDYCO) of the National Police of Fuengirola (Málaga) and Barcelona and with the EDOA of the Civil Guard of the Cádiz Command.


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