Joint operation of the National Police and the Mossos d'Esquadra
Disarticulated in Barcelona, one of the most active criminal organizations specializing in home burglaries
87 people have been arrested, 26 of them for various crimes – 14 of which are in preventive detention – and another 61 for violation of the Immigration Law
The detainees are charged with more than 70 robberies in homes, mainly in Barcelona, in other cities of Catalonia, and also in Madrid
The organization had an itinerant character, with great mobility throughout different parts of the national territory, and worked in batteries of up to five people
The joint collaboration between the National Police and Mossos d'Esquadra has been joined by the official state liaison of the Georgian Police
07-June-2019.- Agents of the National Police, in a joint operation with the Mossos d'Esquadra, have dismantled in Barcelona one of the most active criminal organizations specialized in robberies with strength at home. 87 people have been arrested, 26 of them for various crimes – 14 of which are in pretrial detention – and another 61 for violation of the Immigration Law. The detainees are accused of more than 70 robberies in homes, mainly in Barcelona, in other cities of Catalonia, and also in Madrid. The organization had an itinerant character, with great mobility in different parts of the national territory, and worked in batteries of up to five people. In addition, the joint collaboration between the National Police and Mossos d'Esquadra has been joined by the official state liaison of the Georgian Police.
The investigation began during the first quarter of 2018 when the neighbors and merchants of the neighborhood of Sant Genís, in Barcelona, brought to the attention of the agents the situation of insecurity they experienced due to the beginning of a wave of burglaries in homes, and other criminal acts related to heritage, in the area. The researchers observed that this coincided with the occupation of a neighborhood educational center by a large group of people of Georgian origin. Some time later they would discover that in that occupied building the criminal organization had its base of operations.
Soon after, and after several steps that allowed linking the two facts mentioned, there were the first arrests, specifically of a group of Georgian citizens who had hidden in the institute after committing a robbery with force in a flat in the area. Days later, the arrested ones, who had been freed with charges, were arrested again in Madrid for the commission of crimes of the same nature that they had carried out together with other individuals also of Georgian nationality.
An itinerant organization that worked in subgroups
At this point in the investigation, the agents warned that they were facing an itinerant criminal organization with great mobility in different parts of the national territory. This led to the creation of a joint investigation team between the National Police and the Mossos d'Esquadra. They also verified that those investigated did not remain in our country for more than six months and that they worked in subgroups or batteries of up to five people.
The agents found that it was one of the most active criminal organizations and with the largest number of members in recent times. Inside the occupied school, more than 100 people of Georgian origin met, all of them with numerous police records in different countries of the European Union. The crimes committed were against the patrimony, especially robberies with force in domiciles, criminal typology in which the investigated ones had been able to specialize.
Methodical delinquency and selected activity
Those investigated were organized into batteries or subgroups of up to five people. They left at night to commit robberies with force in houses located in the vicinity of the occupied building, and also in other districts of the city or municipalities of the demarcation of Barcelona. Before committing the robberies they chose the selected dwellings, to which they placed markers to ensure their objectives. The marks consisted of small pieces of plastic that were placed in the frames of the entrance doors in order to know if the occupants of the floors were inside or not. Once they had ascertained that the floor was empty they manipulated the lock and accessed the home to materialize the theft. In addition, they were always covered by another member of the organization who was responsible for monitoring the vicinity of the property to warn in case of detecting the presence of neighbors or police. Likewise, the members of the organization also carried out thefts in crowded commercial establishments both in the city of Barcelona and in other municipalities of its metropolitan area.
The investigation has been developed in different phases, beginning the first arrests in the month of January of this year and ending with the total eviction of the building occupied in Barcelona. The police operation, called "Merlin-Taka", has resulted in the arrest of 26 people – 14 of them in custody – for various crimes of robbery with force, membership of a criminal organization and reception. Likewise, 61 others have also been arrested for violating the Immigration Law. The agents have also registered the headquarters of the dismantled organization, located in the occupied educational center of Barcelona, and the home of one of those investigated, in the town of Castelldefells, where the reception of the stolen effects was carried out. Numerous tools have been used in the registers to manufacture lockpicks and door opening systems, 1,200 euros in cash, a large amount of jewelery, four pen drives and two computers.
The detainees are accused of more than 70 robberies in homes, most in Barcelona, but also in Madrid and other municipalities in the Catalan geography such as Martorell, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Tarrasa, Sitges, Berga, Abrera, Mataró, Santa Coloma of Gramanet and Montcada i Reixac.