The Civil Guard has dismantled a mafia network composed of several criminal groups that were engaged in trafficking with tons of carp and catfish illegally caught in the Ebro, in the vicinity of Zaragoza. The operation, called "Glanis", has resulted in 23 accused – all of them Romanian nationality -, ten vans intervened and nine tonnes of fish intercepted when it was to be transported to Romania, which was the final destination of those cargoes. They have also seized several boats, oars, rods, large networks, weighing scales and many tools related to fishing.
The fish was stored, handled and transported "without any type of sanitary control, in bad hygienic-sanitary conditions and using falsified documentation", have informed sources of the Civil Guard, that initiated the investigations in July of the past year. It was when they detected that several criminal groups of Romanian nationality operated in the provinces of Zaragoza and Huesca with fish caught illegally and massively.
The waters of the Ebro were the main activity scenario of this network. In fact, the detainees acted preferably in the section of the Ebro closest to Zaragoza capital, in a radius of about 35 kilometers, as indicated by the same sources.
The captured specimens were transferred to warehouses where they were stored and handled and prepared for transport in air-conditioned vans. The operations were carried out by criminal groups that are perfectly hierarchized and organized, according to the Civil Guard. "They usually act at night and using mass and non-selective fishing methods, which are prohibited," they explain.
In the industrial sheds they removed the viscera from the fish, cleaned them and placed them in boxes with ice, which were then loaded into the vans that transported them to Romania. The Civil Guard has stressed that the conditions presented by the fish does not make it suitable for human consumption, by not meeting the minimum requirements established by the health guarantee regulations.
Sources of the Ministry of the Interior have indicated that these practices of illegal fishing that have proliferated in waters of the Ebro move more than 100,000 euros a year. It is an estimate made from the groups that have been dismantled in recent years and the accounting documentation that has been intervened.
The operation has been developed by agents of the Serpona of the Civil Guard, in coordination with different courts of instruction of the provinces of Zaragoza and Huesca -depending on where the members of this network were detained. During the ten months of investigation the arrests and accusations have been happening, the most recent in the last weeks.
Sources of the Seprona have indicated to ABC that there has been a proliferation of this type of criminal groups that deal with fish from the Ebro. "These are practices that were detected years ago, but it was from 2014 when it was noticed that they were increasing and that criminal groups acted increasingly on a larger scale, something that has been appreciated especially in 2018 and so far in 2019, "explained a head of these special units of the Civil Guard.
The documentation intervened in the different interventions shows that the price at origin of this fish usually ranges between two and five euros per kilo, a value that is multiplied when it reaches the final consumer in Romania. The price of tents is higher than that of catfish, and the price varies throughout the year, depending on the available supply and the demand of each moment. .