Video: Spanish Police Raid Island Drug-Smuggling Base
Spain's Guardia Civil have arrested six members of a hashish-smuggling gang in a massive sting operation on the Chafarinas Islands, a group of small outcroppings just two nm off the coast of Ras Kebdana, Morocco.
The islands are Spanish possessions, part of Spain's extensive historical holdings along the Moroccan coast. Only one of the Chafarinas Islands, Isla Isabel II, has a constant population - a sprawling 19th century military outpost manned by a handful of soldiers.
The garrison is reportedly not sufficient to deter smugglers, though. In a recent nighttime raid, 150 officers of the Guardia Civil stormed a site used by traffickers, seizing three go-fast boats along with explosives and packages of marijuana. Six Moroccan nationals were arrested in the operation.
The gang allegedly used a boat anchored just off one of the islands as a semi-permanent staging base for smuggling, with as many as 11 speedboats at a time stationed at the site. They would pick up hashish on the Moroccan mainland, ferrying as much as three tonnes of narcotics at a time for handoff to other trafficking vessels on the high seas in between Spain and Morocco. The Guardia Civil described their offshore base as a “drug and fuel maritime daycare" - a safe, isolated place for the gang to store the hashish and sustain their boats and crews.