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Grande-Marlaska vows no respite for Campo traffickers after officers injured

Archive image of Spain’s Minister for the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, in the Campo.

Spain’s Minister for the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, vowed on Monday to step up operations against organised drug trafficking gangs operating across the Strait of Gibraltar.

He was speaking after two Spanish police officers were injured in Algeciras over the weekend, one of them seriously, when their car was rammed by a vehicle carrying 16 bales of drugs.

And in a separate ramming incident in Estepona, two Guardia Civil officers were injured as they tried to stop a vehicle engaged in drug-smuggling.

“Incidents like the ones at the weekend show how desperate these organisations have become, which results in violent actions against officers,” he told reporters in Algeciras.

The incident in Algeciras happened in the area of Punta Carnero in the early hours of Saturday as police officers responded to information about a smuggling operation.

Three men have been arrested in connection with the investigation, including the driver of the vehicle.

In Estepona, four armed men were arrested and 500 kilograms of cannabis resin seized, alongside loaded firearms.

Spain has for months been cracking down hard on gangs operating in this region, displacing some of that activity further up the Spanish coastline.

But as criminal organisations find less space to manoeuvre, so their reaction to law enforcement operations becomes increasingly unpredictable and often aggressive.

Since 2018, Spanish law enforcement agencies have made 9,800 arrests as part of the clampdown in the Campo.

Mr Grande-Marlaska said the police net would now be widened into the Costa del Sol, with the Spanish Government planning a 48m euros investment in resources and personnel.

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