Fourteen people have been arrested in the Almoradí, Callosa de Segura, San Fulgencio and Formentera del Segura areas, in a Guardia Civil sweep of an organised crime gang that stole from homes and businesses, as well as from cars.

Twelve men and two women aged between 19 and 48 years, and of Spanish and Moroccan nationalities, were detained. Charges also include drug dealing, in addition to eight burglaries and belonging to a criminal group.

The five-month Guardia operation saw them finger a 32-year-old Spaniard from Almoradí as the gang leader, and he had actually converted his house into a de facto outlet for buying and selling stolen objects across Alicante Province, with people more than willing to travel to do business with him.

The house got so busy that a drug dealer from Formentera del Segura offered to open a “branch” of the business in Almoradí, selling drugs that were paid for by one of his clients who stole up to 900 litres of diesel from the company that he worked for, which he would then trade in for drugs.

The operation spread out of Spanish shores, with a group of Moroccans stealing items from warehouses, and once they had accumulated a large amount, they put them in large vans, camouflaged as scrap metal, which they would then take over by ferry to Morocco to sell on the black market.

Another member of the gang majored in on stealing mobile phones, tablets and GPS navigators from cars, as well as offering made-to-measure robberies such stealing a generator, or selling off a stolen macaw bird and a parrot.

A 32-year-old Moroccan was remanded into custody after a court appearance, with the remainder being given bail.

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