Two of the eighteen people arrested. | Alejandro Sepúlveda


The drugs operation in Son Banya on Friday had been a year in the development and planning. There were in fact two operations - the National Police's Atlántida and the Guardia Civil's X Gemina (named after one of Julius Caesar's legions) - but they amounted to the same thing. There was was to be a joint attack on the shanty town, a key aim of which was to capture Gabriel A. G., 'El Ove', who has become something of an heir to 'La Paca' but has never had the power of the former drugs matriarch.

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Before 5pm, which is when those who go to Son Banya to buy drugs start to appear, the Guardia Civil's Tráfico had cut off roundabouts in the area. This was to ensure that a convoy of unmarked cars could get to its destination. It looked as if the punters were arriving to buy their drugs. In reality, these were police. All of a sudden, dozens of officers got out of the cars, their immediate targets the drugs sales points. The operation was so swift that there was no chance to close them.

But the big prize, El Ove, eludes the police. His brothers and stepbrothers were located, but there was no trace of him. The police say, though, that it is only a matter of time. They will find him and he will be back behind bars. For how long is another matter.