Detained 10 members of an international organization dedicated to the illegal trade of protected species

Almost 200 animals have been seized among birds, mammals and reptiles

The network had a network of contacts in different countries of the European Union that provided them with protected specimens for illegal export to Morocco

The existence of an emerging market in Africa has been proven that, through Morocco, demands a large number of exclusive animals that are illegally imported

The civil Guard, Within the framework of the FENNEC operation, coordinated by EUROPOL and with the participation of Portugal, Slovakia and Morocco, it has arrested and investigated the 10 members of an international network dedicated to illegal trade in species for the alleged crimes of smuggling, illegal trade in species, animal abuse and documentary falsity.

Likewise, approximately some have been seized 200 animals between birds, mammals and reptiles.
The operation began as a result of the complaint made by a citizen through the conservation organization SEO / BirdLife, which brought it to the knowledge of SEPRONA. This NGO and SEPRONA collaborate in the framework of the European project LIFE Guardians of Nature, whose lines of action are to combat illegal trafficking of species.
The agents, after following up on those now detained, verified that they acquired the animals from different suppliers based in Spain and in other countries of the European Union and after storing them in a shop selling animals in Fuengirola and in an address in Ronda ( Malaga), they were transferred irregularly to Morocco.
Most specimens had different degrees of protection in specific national and international legislation.

Structure of the organization

The structure of the organization was based on four people. One of them, with repeated antecedents for species trafficking, was responsible for acquiring specimens in different EU countries, in addition to Spain, Portugal, Germany or Slovakia. To protect the acquisition and transport of these specimens, an animal shop was used in Fuengirola (Málaga).
Subsequently, in order to reduce the possible obstacles in police controls, they had within the organization a registered veterinarian who issued the corresponding health cards for exotic animals, although filling in the data partially and without registering in the official records with the object of leaving no trace of the specimens sold once they left Spain.
Finally, a Moroccan subject with residence in Melilla was in charge of giving out animals in Morocco. To do this, I contacted buyers through social networks and personal contacts. It also used “mules” for the border crossing between Melilla and Nador, the main route used for the exit of specimens.
This research has proven the existence of an emerging market in Africa that, through Morocco, demands a large number of exclusive animals that are illegally imported. Precisely the relevance of this operation at international level resides in the fact that, until now, it had not been verified that there was a market in Morocco for this type of animals, mainly birds and reptiles.
The FENNEC operation has been developed by the Environmental Operating Unit (UCOMA) of the SEPRONA of the Civil Guard, with the support of the Almeria, Malaga and Melilla Commanders.
They have also had the participation of EUROPOL, which coordinated the actions with the different countries of Europe, especially Portugal and Slovakia, as well as the Royal Gendarmerie of Morocco. The Customs Authority of the Port of Malaga and the CITES Administrative Authority of Spain (General Directorate of Commercial Policy and Competitiveness) have also participated for the identification of the species, the orientation regarding the technical aspects of the control of the specimens and their subsequent accommodation in appropriate centers.
The judicial instruction has corresponded to the Court No. 1 of Fuengirola (Málaga), and has been directed by the Environmental Prosecutor of the Provincial Court of Malaga and with the participation of the CITES Administrative Authority of Spain.
For more information, please contact the OPC of the Headquarters of the SEPRONA of the Civil Guard, telephone 915146900 ext. 44293


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