Home News Marbella Police Smash Criminal Networks

Marbella Police Smash Criminal Networks

National Police

The National Police in in Marbella have dismantled an international criminal organisation that allegedly used highly sophisticated methods dedicated to burglarising homes primarily in the municipality, but also in other areas of the Costa del Sol. The gang have been linked to at least 71 burglaries. Six individuals have been arrested so far- four of them have been remanded in custody.

It is not common for a press conference to be held at the Marbella Police Station, but on the morning of Wednesday, January 24, due to the significance of the operation conducted, the media were summoned.

Present at the conference were the provincial commissioner, Enrique Barón, and the local commissioner, José Manuel Rando, along with some of the investigators involved in ‘Operation Western. Tweet from ‘X’ below courtesy of marbella24horas.es and the National Police

Officers from the Local Judicial Police Brigade of Marbella, and their counterparts from Malaga, have successfully dismantled one of the most active gangs involved in burglaries in the province.

The judicial direction has been overseen by the 5th Instruction Court of Malaga, which has ordered provisional detention for four of the six individuals arrested.

The gang primarily operated in Marbella but also committed burglaries in Estepona, Malaga, and Torremolinos. Initially targeting businesses, they later shifted their focus to residential properties.

Challenging Investigation

Comprising former military personnel from Eastern European countries, they were meticulous in avoiding leaving fingerprints or DNA, significantly complicating the investigation.

They carried out the burglaries in a “highly professional” manner, as explained by the Head of the Judicial Police in Marbella this morning, adding that they were armed and ready for use.

The investigation began in March 2022 but has successfully clarified 71 burglaries committed since early 2021.

They typically operated in areas near golf courses and within a specific time frame, between 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM, when families were out for dinner.

The investigation made its initial breakthrough when a vehicle linked to some of the burglaries was located, leading to two police checkpoints where a Bulgarian citizen and two Albanians were identified, providing crucial leads.

A Critical Error

At that point, the gang ceased operations for four months but resumed activities. During a robbery in Estepona, they made a critical error and left behind a glove.

The police later discovered something unprecedented in such organisations – a kind of hideout located in a forested area of Artola in Marbella. There, they would dress and undress before and after the robberies, store their attire, and hide the loot they acquired.

In the operational phase on January 18, six individuals were arrested, one of whom provided support to the gang from Malaga and facilitated vehicles.

Six raids were conducted, resulting in the recovery of 169 pieces of jewellery, designer handbags, cash, watches, as well as a pistol, a shotgun, a knuckle-duster, and a machete, among other items.

This criminal organization is believed to be responsible for 64 burglaries in Marbella (58 in residences and 6 in businesses) and seven others in Estepona, Malaga, and Torremolinos.

Four of the burglaries involved violence and intimidation when discovered by the occupants of the homes.

Guardia Civil Dismantles Polish Burglary Ring Targeting Spanish Homes

In early January a major operation named “Flataya”, led by the Guardia Civil, successfully dismantled a criminal group hailing from Poland known for their itinerant activities. The four individuals arrested would travel from Poland to Spain solely with the intention of burglarizing homes.

The Polish nationals collaborated with local accomplices to gather information about the houses they planned to target. The operation commenced in May 2023 when evidence from a burglary in Benahavís (Malaga) led agents to identify four Polish men as the suspected culprits.

After spending some days in the province of Malaga, the Polish individuals took an unplanned flight back to their home country. Through diligent investigation, authorities discovered that these individuals were also responsible for a robbery in Casares (Malaga), where they made off with jewelry and cash totaling €600,000, just days before their planned flight.

Investigators observed a consistent pattern in both burglaries, indicating a meticulous study of the targeted residences facilitated by local collaborators. This suggests that the perpetrators were familiar with the residents’ movements, the presence of valuable items, and essential security details.

Simultaneously, during the investigation, agents learned of five other burglaries committed by the same individuals in the mentioned localities, although these did not follow the established pattern.

In September, investigators arrested two individuals as the suspected perpetrators of these five burglaries, including two home invasions, two vehicle thefts, and a burglary within a house under construction. All stolen items, exceeding €47,000 in value, were successfully recovered.

These detentions likely influenced the decision to change the location for their subsequent crimes. Investigators learned that the four members of the Polish group had flown to Alicante on September 21 for their next burglary.

Intensifying efforts to locate them and determine their return date, law enforcement discovered the planned departure from the Costa Levantina. A police operation was organized, leading to the apprehension of the four Polish citizens at the Alicante airport as they awaited their return flight to Poland.

Upon inspection of their hand luggage, agents uncovered 52 pieces of jewelry and €4,480 in cash. Further examination of the seized jewelry revealed that some items originated from recent burglaries in Pilar de la Horadada and Torrevieja, both in Alicante, with a combined value exceeding €30,000.

One of the detained Poles had a European Arrest Warrant from the Netherlands for nine counts of burglary, highlighting the criminal group’s use of itinerancy to commit crimes across European countries, complicating investigations and arrests.

Based on compelling evidence, the competent Judicial Authority ordered provisional detention without bail for all members of the criminal group for the committed property crimes and membership in a criminal organization.

This operation was conducted by agents from the Organic Unit of Judicial Police of the Guardia Civil Command in Malaga, with support from counterparts in Alicante and other units from the mentioned Guardia Civil Commands.


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