A retired couple in their sixties from northwestern Spain have been detained by police on suspicion of using a campervan with a hidden compartment to transport cannabis from Gibraltar to different parts of Spain, disguising their journeys as holidays.
Using methods the police said were near perfect, the 60-year-old woman identified as Dolores, a retired care worker, and her husband Antonio, a 61-year-old former farmer, allegedly followed popular tourism routes to make their pick-up and drop-off journeys look like innocent travel by a couple who had taken early retirement.
“It was a perfect alibi,” José Abreu, a police chief from Pontevedra who led the investigation, told the newspaper El País.
“What they didn’t know is that we were following them to catch them once they had taken the drugs on board.”
Unfortunately for Dolores and Antonio, Spanish police had launched an investigation into the criminal gangs they are suspected of working for, procurers based in northern Spain and the suppliers in the Gibraltar area.
Setting off from their home in Vilanova de Arousa, Galicia, the couple would allegedly wend their way south via Portugal and through the beach area of Huelva in Spain before collecting the consignments of hashish in Gibraltar and making their way back north.
When stopped in Asturias, the couple were allegedly carrying close to 500 kilograms of hashish, with a street value of around two million euros. They are also accused of having 14,000 euros in cash and a semiautomatic rifle with ammunition, but they did not resist arrest.
Police allege the couple had been plying the route for two years, receiving between 5,000 and 10,000 euros per haul, depending on the size.
They have been remanded in custody and could face an eventual prison sentence of between three to six years if convicted of drug trafficking, which could become an even longer stretch if they are also found guilty of money laundering and illegal possession of a weapon.