Agents of the National Police anti-corruption and money laundering squad, at the request of the anti-corruption prosecutor, arrested the nine local police officer suspects on Sunday as part of an investigation into alleged police corruption in the Palma force. In confirming the arrests, the National Police added that further arrests are expected to be made, as the operation, which was first launched in 2013, is very much ongoing.
Deputy police chief
Among those arrested were the former police commissioner, Rafel Estarellas, who was also the deputy head of the local police in Palma when Mateo Isern was the Partido Popular mayor, before being demoted to inspector, and the former chief operating officer of the Green Patrol, Biel Torres, who has also been demoted.
Operation Sancus was mounted in 2013 and the first phase of action was to send the Judicial Police of the Guardia Civil to search the San Fernando police headquarters in Palma. At the time, the main focus of the investigation was that certain members of the force were apparently helping aspiring police cadets through their entrance exams. As a result of the raid and evidence found, the Guardia Civil handed over all their findings to the National Police anti-corruption squad.
The National Police soon stumbled across apparently serious and endemic corruption involving a number of serving and members of the local police.
The arrested suspects face alleged charges of extortion and accepting bribes from businesspeople and traders in Palma, primarily businesses involved in tourism in Playa de Palma. The majority of those arrested are members of the so-called Green patrol, and they face charges of allegedly falsifying documents and coercion, forcing people into certain acts against their will.
The operation was due to have been mounted today (Monday), but investigators were made aware of a number of leaks in the force, so they moved a day early. The nine will appear in court tomorrow (Tuesday).