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Dismantled drug trafficking network in 10 bars in Portugalete and Santurtzi

Jesus Carames

April 22, 2023 | 9:00 a.m.

Joint police operation closes ten establishments

The Ertzaintza has arrested three people and is investigating another six for alleged integration into a criminal organization dedicated to drug trafficking in bars in the Vizcaya towns of Portugalete and Santurtzi. In the operation, ten establishments have been closed.

Seizure of drugs, money and taser weapon

The police operation, carried out last Wednesday with the collaboration of the local police of both municipalities, was carried out in six bars in Portugalete and four in Santurtzi. On the premises, the agents seized various amounts of illegal substances, approximately 5000 euros in cash and a taser-type pistol, as reported by the Department of Security.

Arrested, including the ringleader of the plot

Among the three detainees, two men of 54 and 25 years of age and a 52-year-old woman, is the one considered ringleader of the plot, responsible for a network of catering establishments in municipalities on the Left Bank, where he was engaged in the retailing of narcotic substances such as cocaine, hashish or heroin.

Labor exploitation and leasing of premises

The employees of the businesses, with practically no hotel activity, were people without papers and without an employment contract. Therefore, the leader He is also charged with labor exploitation.. This person was dedicated to leasing catering establishments that he later used to distribute narcotic substances, according to the Department of Security.

Investigations and possible new arrests

In the investigations carried out in recent months, the agents verified that the people who accessed the monitored premises spent brief periods of time indoors and they left without having consumed anything. In addition, in the premises there was no replacement of catering goods.

It is believed that there may be "a greater number of premises related to this criminal act", so the investigation remains open and new arrests are not ruled out.

Impact on the community and the fight against drug trafficking

The dismantling of this drug trafficking network in bars in Portugalete and Santurtzi is an example of the joint work of the security forces in the fight against drug trafficking. The police operation has not only managed to close ten establishments related to drug trafficking, but it has also managed to arrest those allegedly responsible for the organization and, in the process, reveal cases of labor exploitation.

The ongoing investigation and possible new arrests demonstrate the importance of maintaining pressure on criminal organizations and working in coordination between different police forces. In this way, the community is protected and drug trafficking in all its forms is combated.

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