first to suffer from police harassment have been the villains of British origin. In just five days, agents specializing in organized crime have traced their points meeting in Marbella, Mijas, Fuengirola, Torremolinos and Benalmadena. 101 identifications have been made, 14 local inspections made, mostly in pubs or bars, and five people arrested.
Those detained include two fugitives sought for drug trafficking in their countries, one wanted by Spanish authorities, and two others who allegedly were involved in selling small quantities of drugs. Such is the case of the waiter and the owner of a pub in Benalmadena. During the inspection of the premises, the officers involved found various doses of marijuana and hashish hidden behind the bar and in the garbage. In addition to arresting them, Police have recommended suspending the trading license of the establishment.
In the opertion are collaborating agents specializing in the fight against drug trafficking and the Special Response Group Organized Crime (Greco), as well as liasions from the British police posted Spain for this operation. "We want to draw the attention of the bad guys who think that the Costa del Sol is the perfect hideaway and remind them that we are monitoring them closely" said a police commander.
The operation, named Cardhu, has been ongoing since the 24th October. Although the first phase was aimed specifically at British criminals, the operation is not over. Forthcoming operations focus on meeting places for fugitives from other countries, police said.
The fact that the campaign has begun by targetting British citizens is significant. 25% of registered foreigners in the area are from the UK, according to data from 2009 - and, recently, violent incidents involving them are on the up, mainly due to fall outs over the lucrative drugs trade.
The Costa del Sol is also a favorite haunt of Irish criminals, especially those who are quickly becoming drug barons. These criminals are taking center stage in the drug trade and creating infrastructure in Málaga, and establishing contact with Moroccan traffickers.
Between 2008 and 2009, three drug lords died in settling of scores. The gangs have hired people in the Costa del Sol, and when they need to settle scores, they do so in the same area. Police cited the example of the death on 21 April, of a 32 year old British man gunned down in his apartment in Benalmadena following an abortive attempt to "rip off" his local drugs baron