THE Guardia Civil is going to increase its security forces in the Balearics and along the south Mediterranean coast of Spain as part of a new war against Islamic terrorism, organised crime and immigration.
The Home Office announced yesterday that an extra 1.202 members of the Guardia Civil are going to be deployed in the black spot areas as part of a new anti-serious crime unit being set up.
Similar units are already operational in Almería, Algeciras and Alicante but the Home Office wants to extend the crack unit's operations to include the Mediterranean coastline and the Balearics.
The Chief of Police also intends to set up a new highly trained anti-organised crime unit called Greco. It will specialise in combating extremely dangerous and violent criminal organisations while new regional intelligence squads, UTI's, are being created to provide vital information for both of the new front-line security forces.
According to a Home Office spokesperson, the three new forces are being created as part of the new international crackdown on terrorism and organised crime. They will be working very closely with the security forces in countries home to or harbouring dangerous criminals, in particular the Eastern block. The illegal trafficking of arms, serious fraud, money laundering and the illegal trafficking of luxury vehicles are also areas the new security forces will be responsible for dealing with.
The new security force will this year in the Meditereanean (the Balearics, Cataluña, Murcia and Valencia) have carried out 352 anti-organised criminal operations.
163 organised criminal gangs have been smashed and 1'717 people have been arrested.
According to the Home Office, the trafficking of hashish from Morocco into Europe, through Spain, has attracted British, French, German and Italian drug trafficking gangs to Southern Spain and parts of the Mediterranean.
In the Balearics, the drug and serious crime squads have enjoyed a great deal of success seizing nearly 4'000 kilos of hashish as well as significant amounts of ecstasy and Class A drugs.
Only on Friday were three kilos of cocaine discovered in a car arriving on a ferry from Alicante to Palma.
The seizure was one of the biggest interceptions of cocaine of the year in the Balearics.
In May, eight traffickers were arrested by the Guardia Civil in possession of seven kilos of cocaine and half a kilo of heroin. In July, Palma airport police caught a smuggler trying to slip 2.5 kilos of heroin in to Majorca. However, the most important operations carried out this year included nine kilos of hashish found hidden in a fleet of refrigerated lorries in Malaga and the arrest of 16 people involved in a massive stolen luxury car syndicate operated by a gang of Bulgarians.
Six other Bulgarians and a Rumanian were also arrested in February in connection with a double shooting in Madrid.