THE Independent Association of the Guardia Civil (ASIGC) maintains that its forces have detected 251 organised criminal gangs, some of them British, operating throughout Spain and that the capital resources of these groups could be as high as 45 million euros. The Balearics are one of their main targets. According to the Association each one of these groups makes a half-yearly profit of 200'000 euros. Their principal activities are robbery, trafficking in drugs and human beings, falsification of documents associated with illegal immigration in Spain, violence and smuggling. The report says that the most affected provinces, apart from the Balearics, are Almería, Málaga, Madrid, Córdoba, Cáceres, Murcia, Alicante and Coruña.
These estimates are the results of a study carried out by a special criminal investigation unit of the Guardia Civil. Their information was gathered from reports received from different territorial units spread throughout the country, based on crime-related investigations and detentions. Throughout the year 2002, the Guardia Civil Association has reported detaining 1'728 members of these organised bands.
Of the 251 organised criminal gangs, 94 of them (37.5 percent of the total) are said to be made up of foreigners; 100 groups (39.8 percent) of a combination of foreigners and Spaniards; and the remaining 57, 22.7 percent of the total, are estimated to consist of Spaniards only. The foreigners involved in these organised crime syndicates who come from outside the European Union, are chiefly Romanians, Moroccans, Colombians and Lithuanians. Those within the Union are chiefly Italians, French, Germans and Portuguese, reports the communiqué. Examining criminal activity according to country of origin, the Guardia Civil Association claims that people coming from Germany dedicate themselves, for the most part, to laundering money and prostitution. The criminal element of Italians, Portuguese and French on the other hand concentrate on robbery and drug trafficking. British criminals operating in Spain, according to the report, are skilled in swindling, defrauding the State and drug trafficking. Moroccans and Colombians also traffic in drugs and human beings.

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