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Violent gang robbed and tortured drug traffickers

A violent gang that specialised in robbing drug traffickers used GPS bugs to track shipments of cannabis resin smuggled across the Strait of Gibraltar, according to Spain’s Guardia Civil.

The gang used contacts in Morocco to hide the bugs inside bales of drugs, allowing them to trace their whereabouts once these had been smuggled into Spain.

"They then dressed up as law enforcement officers to rob the drugs," the Guardia Civil said in a statement.

"They did not hesitate to kidnap and torture their victims in order to extract information on other shipments."

Details of their methods emerged after Guardia Civil officers arrested 30 of the gang’s members in Cádiz province, Málaga, Barcelona and Huelva.

Among those arrested were 29 Moroccans, eight Spaniards and a Senegalese national. Officers searched 29 premises and seized 2.6 tonnes of cannabis resin, 16 vehicles, over 60,000 euros in cash and six loaded handguns, as well as satellite phones and documents.

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According to the Guardia Civil, the gang’s members were highly trained and organised, dressing up as policemen and using “extreme violence” and firearms to rob drug traffickers.

“This organisation had international connections with groups in Morocco allowing them to hide satellite tracking devices in shipments of hashish and locate them once they were in the peninsula,” the Guardia Civil said in a statement.

The gang also had contacts with criminal organisations in France and traded drugs for weapons which they used to rob other shipments.

Investigating officers were able to establish the group's involvement in 25 violent assaults, according to the statement.

The operation, which involved Catalonia’s Mosses d’Escuadra and Morocco’s Royal Gendarmerie, remains open and further arrests have not been ruled out.