Europol has coordinated a joint investigation led by the Spanish National Police and the Polish Police (Police Central Bureau of Investigation) to dismantle a criminal group involved in the international smuggling of large quantities of marijuana (mainly to Poland and Germany).

The investigation started once the Spanish National Police detected a criminal group, composed of Spanish and Polish individuals, which had houses with robust security measures, where the organization set up marijuana cultivations and stored large quantities of this illegal drug. These houses were protected not only by a CCTV system but by armed members of the organisation and the marijuana was vacuum-packaged to hide its smell before its concealment in the vegetables shipments.

The leader of the group, a Polish national, was supported in the criminal activities by two Spanish deputies. While one of them was in charge of the purchase of the drug in Spain and the management of the rented houses of the organization in Valencia, the other one dealt with the international distribution of the drug.

Once the Spanish National Police found out the international character of the criminal group, Poland was informed and Europol coordinated this joint investigation. Polish authorities found out this criminal group was stealing cars in Spain to be sold in Poland after forging different elements. During the inquiries Polish police recovered 38 vehicles which had been stolen in Spain and sold in Poland to buyers who didn’t know the illegal origin of them.

During the action days in Spain 13 individuals were arrested and seven illegal cultivations in Valencia have been dismantled. Furthermore 159 Kg. of marijuana, around EUR 73.000 in cash, a gun with the serial number scratched and six vehicles (two of them stolen) were seized.
Europol has supported the investigations from the early phases by facilitating the exchange of information. During the action day on 01 December, one Europol expert was deployed to Valencia (Spain) equipped with a mobile office. This allowed for real–time exchange of information and cross-checks of the data gathered in the course of the action against Europol’s databases.