Staff Reporter

PALMA
THE Guardia Civil in Majorca has broken up what has been described as the biggest hashish trafficking gang in Europe, confiscating more than seven tons of the drug and arresting nine people.

The operation is still open and further arrests have not been ruled out, as several members of the gang managed to escape.
The courts in Palma and Manacor have authorised several searches in business premises and homes.
The operation, code-named Taureg, started at the end of September. Investigations showed that the drugs were brought to the island on high-speed ribs from Morocco and were unloaded in the east of the island, in areas such as Cala Santanyi, Cala Egos, Cala d'Or and Cala Murada. One of these ribs, without registration or identification, was found beached at Cala Murada last September, and provided the Guardia Civil with valuable information.

The gang loaded seven tons of hashish on several ribs and landed on the island in the early hours of Saturday morning. The drug was loaded into vans and taken to an estate in Manacor, from where it would allegedly be distributed throughout the island. The Guardia Civil kept the men under surveillance, discovering that six of the suspects were staying in a hostal in Palma and the other three in Portixol. They were all arrested in a simultaneous operation and taken to Guardia Civil headquarters in Manacor and Palma. However, other gang members in Manacor got away after a dramatic car chase, which ended in a crash, and at least one suspect was believed to be injured. A search is now being made for them.

All the suspects were Moroccan, but it is believed that they had a network of contacts on the island.
In addition to the drug, the Guardia Civil also seized 50'000 euros in cash, a van and three hired cars.
The leader of the gang has been named as Abderrazzak G, aged 32, who is related to other drug hauls in Tarragona, Murcia and Alicante.
The other eight suspects arrested are aged between 22 and 45.
Investigators believe that the gang has introduced more than 30 tons of the drug into Spain in the last year.

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