Portugal’s Judiciary Police (PJ) and Spain’s National Police Corps (CNP) have dismantled a criminal organisation dedicated to the trafficking of illicit substances, seizing more than two tonnes of drugs and making 21 arrests, the Portuguese force revealed on Thursday.
According to the statement, the PJ, with the support of Portugal’s National Republican Guard (GNR), served six arrest warrants, which targeted those responsible for the drug transport network, while their Spanish colleagues arrested the remaining 15 people.
The investigation originated in September 2022, when a heavy goods vehicle from Portugal was the target of an inspection in France, with the French authorities finding and seizing around 485 kilos of hashish in its cargo.
The PJ’s Northern Directorate was informed of the case and then sought to understand the size of the criminal organisation and identify suspects.
In the statement, the PJ explains that “evidence of the existence of a criminal group” was found in Portugal that “provided important drug trafficking networks based in Spain with a whole service of transporting large quantities” of drugs to other European countries. To this end, it notified the Spanish police, requesting surveillance of a lorry that left Portugal for a warehouse in southern Spain.
“The Spanish authorities followed the heavy goods vehicle and, at the appropriate time, subjected it to an inspection, finding several bales of hashish weighing more than a tonne and detaining the driver,” the statement continues. “After searching the warehouse where the heavy goods vehicle had been, more bales of cannabis resin were found and seized, again weighing more than a tonne, detaining 14 people on the spot, in flagrante delicto.”
In view of the confirmation of suspicions, the PJ proceeded to carry out searches and arrests on Portuguese territory, which saw six people detained. The three suspected of heading the drug transport network were on Wednesday presented to a judge, who ordered them all held on remand.
The investigation is being overseen by public prosecutors at the Porto regional Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DIAP).