14 detained in Cantabria for scamming with false sales ads on the internet

The Civil Guard investigates more than 400 scams that exceed 350,000 euros

The criminal group – based in Santander and El Astillero – took advantage of several people without resources to use them as "mules"

To obtain identities and bank details, they did not hesitate to use violence or even kidnapping.

The Civil Guard has arrested 14 people in Cantabria for committing more than 400 scams with false sale advertisements online.

The Gemule operation has resulted in the dismantling of this criminal group that offered second-hand products, which once collected, never sent.

The Civil Guard investigates the commission of more than 400 scams throughout the national geography, offering for sale, mainly, old cars, classic motorcycles, hunting shotguns, necklaces with integrated GPS or musical instruments, at low prices.

Regarding the amount scammed, the analysis of the more than 130 bank accounts and other investigated documents showed that the organization could have received more than 350,000 euros from its victims.

After the first five searches in Santander and El Astillero, the investigators seized numerous documents, obtaining information on 133 bank accounts. Documents destined to usurp the identity of the "mules", telephone terminals, contracts, cards, money, etc. were also located.

The leader of the organization, a 56-year-old man, had in his room more than 26,000 euros in cash, and a 22-caliber revolver, ammunition and other prohibited weapons.

At the same address was the leader's son, a 28-year-old man, considered the “brain” of the organization, which has published more than 4,000 on second-hand effects sales websites.

People without resources such as "mules"

The plot was nurtured mainly by people without resources from Santander, to put a multitude of telephone lines and bank accounts in their name. The organization took advantage of the situation of need of these people, giving them small commissions, under the pretext of helping them collect business without leaving a record. On other occasions they were threatened with violence.

One of these mules was even kidnapped by refusing to give up the secret number of a bank account. Later this person was transferred to a field where he was attacked until he provided the keys.

The organization used different ways to carry out the scams, even using the ID of some of the victims, usurping their identity.

The operation, has been directed by the Court of Instruction No. 5 of Santander, under the coordination of the Prosecutor for telematic crimes, continues open, not ruling out more arrests.

The investigation is carried out by specialists in computer crimes and crimes against the patrimony of the Civil Guard of Cantabria, with the support of members of the Citizen Security Unit (USECIC), the Reserve and Security Group (GRS), in addition to the collaboration of the Local Police of Santander and El Astillero.

For more information, you can contact the Peripheral Communication Office (OPC) of the Civil Guard of Cantabria, at 942.32.14.00 ext 2410.


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