18 arrested for Catral kidnap and torture

Guardia Civil have made a total of 18 arrests across the Vega Baja in relation to an alleged kidnapping and torture which took place in Catral. The 18 are purported to belong to a gang of known drug traffickers. The victim is believed to have acted as an intermediary for a drug deal that went wrong – bales of hashish which turned out to be clay. The gang is alleged to have paid out almost a quarter of a million euro for what they believed to be 90 kilos of drugs. When gang members opened the packages, they discovered that they had been duped and it is alleged they proceeded to kidnap the victim as revenge.
Police sources say that the man was held for a whole night at a house in Catral. There, he was tied to a chair and was subjected to torture until he was able to make his escape when his captors left him alone for a few minutes. The injuries sustained by the man during his ordeal were so severe that he had to be hospitalised for several days.
Guardia Civil had been investigating this particular gang of drug traffickers since April. The kidnapping forced the investigation into the drug trafficking to be temporarily set aside in order to focus on protecting the victim and locating and detaining the alleged perpetrators. For several days, the Guardia Civil mounted an intensive surveillance operation which culminated in the gradual detention of the alleged participants in the kidnapping. Each of them had very specific functions for the confinement of the victim: locating and watching the victim’s house, the actual execution of the kidnapping, the transfer of the victim to Catral and the physical attacks on the victim while he was being held.
Once the gang members who were directly involved in the kidnapping were identified and detained, officers returned their efforts to identifying the remaining gang members and made a number further arrests.
Over the course of the last five months, eight separate raids were carried out in Catral and Almoradí. During the operation, an indoor marijuana grow house was shut down and 85 plants destroyed, five kilos of marijuana buds seized, a quantity of cocaine recovered as well as a number of firearms, €15,000 in cash and three high-end vehicles.
The arrests were carried out in a staggered manner – eleven made between the end of July and the beginning of August (coinciding with the kidnapping) and the last seven arrests taking place during the first half of September.
In total, 18 people have been arrested for crimes against public health, belonging to a criminal gang, kidnapping and grievous bodily harm. Among those arrested there are eleven Spaniards aged between 19 and 47; three Albanians; two Britons, one Dutch national and one Argentinean.