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Seizure of more than 400 kilograms of high purity cocaine and almost half a million EUR in cash

A criminal organization belonging to the dangerous mafia group of the Skaljari Clan from Montenegro was successfully dismantled on the Canary Islands by the law enforcement officers of the Civil Guard and National Police on August 8, 2021, based on a well-planned joint action with the Department for Combatting Against Drug Trafficking of Montenegro.

The arrests and house searches resulted into the seizure of 408 kilograms of cocaine and almost half a million euros in cash, a vehicle, a yacht-type boat, 12 encrypted telephones, electronic security devices, machines banknote counters and vacuum packers, as well as various tools and documentation related to criminal activities. Among the four people arrested, three are Montenegrin citizens. The four detainees are members of the Skaljari Clan, the dangerous drug trafficking mafia originating from Montenegro.

The criminal network had established a channel for storing cocaine in the Canary Islands, where they collected it in rented houses in luxury residential units. The members of the group went completely unnoticed, and from these houses they proceeded to distribute the narcotic substances to local organizations. Investigators detected in November how members of the organization handed over 250,000 and 155,000 EUR in cash respectively to third parties on different days, with the purpose of removing that money from the Canary Islands and laundering it into the legal market.

After an arduous investigation, it was possible to detect an alleged transport of narcotic substances that started from the south of Tenerife. Once the two vehicles that participated in it had been identified, it was found that 70 kilograms of cocaine were being transported, for which the two drivers were arrested. The police investigations led the agents to a property located in Costa Adeje, where a third member of the organization was arrested, who was currently guarding the rest of the drugs.

Furthermore, on Gran Canaria and Tenerife another 338 kilograms of cocaine were discovered, in addition to 413,000 euros.

Among the four arrested is the leader of the Pink Panther gang, known for its robberies in the most luxurious jewellers in the world in the first decade of the 2000s.

The operation has been jointly developed by four groups from the Canary Islands specialized in the combat against delinquency and organized crime, the EDOA of the Comandancia de Tenerife and ECO de Canarias by the Civil Guard: UDYCO of the Provincial Police Station of Las Palmas and UDYCO of the Provincial Police Station of Tenerife of the National Police.

Likewise, the investigation team had the support of the UDYCO Central of the National Police and the Technical Unit of the Judicial Police of the Civil Guard, experts in the analysis of crime in the Balkans, of the EUROPOL agency, as well as of the Interior Attaché of the Embassy of Spain in Belgrade (Serbia), Albanian police authorities and Montenegrin police authorities. Regarding the operational meetings between the abovementioned authorities, the project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans – IPA 2019 has supported the Montenegrin Police Directorate with an operational meeting in May 2021 in Spain. At this meeting, an exchange of operational information related to the citizens of Montenegro (identification, their affiliation with a particular Organized Criminal Groups, as well as their role in them) involved in this investigation were successfully exchanged and agreements on future result in their arrest could be agreed upon.

Photo source: Guardia Civil (Twitter screenshot)