Gang selling drug-laden jelly beans caught operating from Costa del Sol

Gang selling drug-laden jelly beans caught operating from Costa del Sol

Tuesday May 7, 2024, 9:50 a.m.

Police have busted a Dutch gang based on the Costa del Sol that sold drug-tainted jelly beans online.

The members of the organization, of Dutch origin, sent the drugs by post throughout Europe and also created a complex network of businesses to launder the profits, according to investigators from the National Police and the Guardia Civil .

Police searched seven houses in the towns of Fuengirola, Mijas, Estepona and the Canary Islands (Maspalomas) and arrested 15 people. Among other substances, police seized 12,000 bags of candy and snacks contaminated with THC, 281 vapes of liquid cannabis and 49 packages containing cocaine.

An investigation was opened after Spanish police received a report from Belgian police that a Dutch national had been arrested at a parcel collection point with a batch of 700 grams of the narcotic substance, namely synthetic cathinone ( 3M™).

After his arrest, the police opened an investigation to find out which organization was behind this act. Investigators discovered that the network that made the shipment was responsible for numerous other small, low-value deliveries via different logistics companies and using different recipients. During the investigation, they discovered that many shipments were also made to Maspalomas.

The leaders of the organization were a Dutch couple, well located on the Costa del Sol, who lived a life of luxury with numerous properties and businesses, including a gym, to their name in the Fuengirola, Mijas and Estepona areas . They were assisted by two other Dutch people who coordinated the expeditions.

The gang bought candies and snacks from different places, such as the Netherlands, or directly from factories in Levante in Spain, or even in China, before contaminating them with cannabinoids. To avoid detection, they used different rooms and storage properties to hide the products.

The main suspect did not live in the same location, but rented various vacation rentals and changed vehicles frequently, according to investigators. The gang also had two warehouses in Mijas. In one of them, they kept legal goods such as snacks, candy or vapes, which did not contain narcotics. Later, after leaving them for a while, they would collect them and take them to one of the properties they had rented, where they set up a rudimentary laboratory kitchen where they would contaminate the candy, police said.

Recipients of the drugs paid by bank transfer, with more than €1.5 million entering the account during the investigation period. The fake company then declared its income as sales of products such as chemical raw materials, vitamins or sports products. Police blocked 620,000 euros in Spanish bank accounts as well as real estate valued at 1.5 million euros and high-end cars.