40 arrests in raids against drug and weapons traffickers in North Barcelona
Mossos police strike a blow against one of the "most important" crime organizations in and around the city of Badalona
The Mossos d'Esquadra Catalan police arrested some 40 people on Friday morning in an operation against drug and weapons trafficking and money laundering in the Sant Roc neighbourhood of the city of Badalona, just north of Barcelona.
In a series of raids, some of which took place in other towns in the metropolitan area, the Mossos said they had dealt a blow to one of the "most important" crime organizations devoted to trafficking drugs and weapons in the Barcelonès Nord area.
The raids ordered by a Badalona court saw the participation of a number of different Mossos d'Esquadra units, including the team dedicated to working below ground and in confined spaces, to avoid the suspects trying to get rid of evidence in the sewer system.
Police carry out some 30 raids
The first news of the raids came at around 6.30am, when the Mossos police posted a tweet announcing the start of the operation, saying "we are doing some 30 forced entries and raids in Badalona and the metropolitan area."
It later became clear that about half the raids were in Badalona, with the rest in different towns in the local area, such as Barcelona, Alella, Santa Coloma de Gramenet and Viladecans, and at around 11am the police said they had made about 40 arrests.
The Mossos police had cordoned off a number of streets in Badalona's Sant Roc neighbourhood, where most of the raids took place, while throughout the operation a police helicopter flew over the local area.
One of the largest operations ever
The operation, one of the largest ever carried out in Catalonia and involving some 600 Mossos officers, is the result of a year-long investigation that was launched after police noticed a rise in the amount of illegal drugs and weapons in Badalona.
"For a while we've seen a rise in the presence of weapons in the area, above all caused by an upturn in the sale of certain drugs," said the head of the Criminal Investigation Division, Antoni Rodríguez, who added, "this rise in the presence of weapons alarms us."