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Fourteen arrests in stolen boat motor investigation into exports to Senegal

Fourteen arrests in stolen boat motor investigation into exports to Senegal

The Civil Guard and Customs Surveillance team of Las Palmas have dismantled a network accused of stealing up to 208 motors from boats that arrived in 2020 at the Arguineguín dock (Gran Canaria) and then selling them to Senegalese buyers with the help of false customs documentation.

14 people have been arrested and another is being investigated, who are all accused of alleged crimes against the public administration and the rights of foreign citizens, and of belonging to a criminal group, smuggling, misappropriation, receipt of stolen goods, falsification of documents and simulating crimes.

The Port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Civil Guard Tax Analysis and Investigation Office and the Tax Agency’s Maritime Customs Risk Analysis Unit began to investigate after opening a maritime container in which they found 52 outboard motors with identical characteristics to those used on the open boats coming from African countries through which the migratory route that leads to the Canary Islands begins.

This finding led the Civil Guard to link their suspected illicit origins with a complaint, filed at the Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria barracks, in which it was claimed that “unknown perpetrators had stolen around 100 outboard motors belonging to boats, in addition to 30 containers of fuel and an inflatable boat” the Guardia Civl reported in a statement.

The investigation opened in regard to this complaint made it possible to verify that the same person, together with another employee of the company responsible for the Arguineguín dock, and assisted by a resident of Santa Lucía de Tirajana, had transferred outboard motors, deposited in the port area, to an external warehouse, outside of the enterprise.

Police carried out procedures to confirm that the seller of these engines was in fact also the partner of the Santa Lucía de Tirajana resident identified.

This woman now stands accused of having sold 208 engines, mostly to buyers of Senegalese origin, with the help of some exporters.

All these investigations made it possible to detect “three perfectly organised subgroups, whose differentiated tasks consisted of obtaining and subsequent transfer of engines off the Arguineguín dock, as well as their sale to third parties.”

One subgroup, made up of eight exporters, was dedicated to moving the engines to Senegal and another, made up of people linked to the customs field, was in charge of issuing proper engine operation certification as well as the falsifying of customs documentation necessary to carry out their exports.

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