An international network dedicated to the trade in bivalves unfit for human consumption has been dismantled

8 people have been arrested and the investigation of 7 merchants

The research has had the support of EUROPOL and EUROJUST, carrying out several simultaneous registrations in Spain (Pontevedra and Bilbao), Portugal and Italy.

The Civil Guard within the framework of the bivalve-Tagus Clam operation, under the coordination of EUROPOL, has proceeded to the investigation of a criminal network dedicated to the trade in bivalves unfit for human consumption.

8 people have been arrested as alleged perpetrators of crimes of Belonging to a Criminal Organization, Contraband, Money Laundering, Document Falsification, Tax Crime and against Health and 7 commercial companies have been investigated. Likewise, 1.5 tons of bivalves (mostly Japanese clams), 120,000 euros, 25 vehicles, 12 boats, material related to fishing activity, as well as technological equipment and fiscal and banking documentation have been seized.

Bivalve extraction

Those investigated were dedicated to the extraction of bivalves (mainly japan clams) from the Tagus estuary, which usually presents high levels of toxin and microbiological contamination, but declared as coming from the Sado river more free of contamination.

The clams were bought by Spanish treatment plants, protected with false documents and then sold and exported to other countries of the European Union without having gone through the mandatory decontamination system.

The commercial activity carried out by the different companies was based on the concealment from the tax administration of transactions estimated at around 5 million euros, which, in addition to defrauding the Portuguese State in terms of different taxes such as VAT, allowed them to obtain illegally important patrimonial advantages.

At international level

The activity of the investigated companies was focused on Spain, Portugal and Italy, all the clams came from poaching shellfish off the coast of Portugal, which is why we worked with GNR (National Republican-Fiscal Guard), which carried out a large number of services coordinated with the Judicial Police and SEPRONA, apprehending 1.5 tons of contaminated Japanese clam on Portuguese soil.

Agrifood Security

The development of this operation has made it possible to increase, even more if possible, the surveillance and control of contaminated mollusks that are marketed from Portugal to the rest of European countries with entry into Spain and distribution from our country.

With these actions, it is intended to guarantee the origin and traceability of bivalve molluscs, avoid possible fraud in the commercialization of said foods and protect the interests and health of consumers.

In Spain, 5 searches have been carried out in purification centers, 4 of them located in Pontevedra and 1 in Guetxo (Vizcaya) .ç

The operation has been developed by the participation of the Technical Unit of the Judicial Police and the Central Operational Unit for the Environment (UCOMA) of the Civil Guard in coordination with the National Republican Guard of Portugal and the Carabinieri Corps of Italy. The proceedings are being instructed by the court nº4 of Cambados (Pontevedra) coming from a European judicial aid emanating from Portugal.


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