Members of around 100 criminal groups are living in the country, locked in a power struggle over control of the drug trade, Spanish police say.
One of the gangs – the fearsome Skaljari criminal clan, one of the most important mafia groups from Montenegro – have racked up hundreds of killings in Spain.
Global247News reported last month that one of their members, a bodyguard who was wanted by interpol, was located at a hotel in Barcelona where he was wanted on murder charges back in Montenegro.
An operation between Spanish intelligence and police and the European Network of Fugitive Active Search Teams (ENFAST) has led to dozens of other gang members being arrested in similar fashion.
And now according to the latest data from Spain’s Intelligence Center for Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO), it has estimated there are members of a hundred or so groups from Serbia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Bosnia and Macedonia.
They are all said to be living mainly in Malaga, Valencia and Catalonia.
Arrests and raids have been taking place all across the Costa del Sol recently with hundreds of hardened Iraq and Afghanistan veterans from the Guardia Civil brought in to disrupt activity.
“Serbian gangs are competing with Dutch and French-Algerian groups for the control of the drug trafficking in the area: there are shootings, kidnappings and other violent actions,” warn police sources, adding that the recent fire that destroyed the Sisu Boutique Hotel in Marbella’s upscale Puerto Banús area could be related to organized crime.
Civil Guard sources explain that “Serbians and Montenegrins are part of international networks dedicated to the trafficking of drugs and arms,” which makes them more dangerous.
“They began by manning yachts and merchant ships for big companies,” they explain. “And they have ended up going to Brazil to take charge of the whole cocaine business from its origin: there is a Serbian colony in Puerto de Santos.”
Spanish sources warn people to be vigilant, especially at night and to report suspicious activity to the police straight away.
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