The Kasbah in Playa del Inglés was the very first shopping and leisure centre to have been built in the south of Gran Canaria, and its seen its fair share of the night time economy over the years. Anyone who has visited late at night will possible have also witnessed large numbers of PRs, along with suspected drug dealers and prostitutes, and the occasional clip joint all able to exist quite openly around the entrances to the late night venues and bars.  However it seems someone has finally taken exception and motivated law enforcers to act. Over recent years there have been concerns that the blatant and openly visible drug trade has started to spread to other night spots like the Yumbo. 


Police in San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Gran Canaria, have, it was announced this week, successfully dismantled a drug trafficking ring operating from the Kasbah shopping centre in Maspalomas. The criminal organisation was led by two brothers who employed various tactics to conceal their illegal activities.

The investigation, which began in 2022, was prompted by reports from local residents and business owners in the southern part of Gran Canaria, particularly focused on the activities of this criminal group involving drug sales within various leisure areas of Maspalomas.

The key figures in this operation were the two brothers who employed individuals, it seems primarily irregular migrants, as drug dealers. To further conceal their activities, they used various commercial establishments as fronts for their illegal operations, hiding drugs in unexpected places within the shopping centre, such as false ceilings, trash cans, behind advertising signs, and in wall cavities.

This illegal activity was carried out around the clock, with dealers supplying drugs throughout the day, with a notable increase in activity during the night. Many of the buyers were tourists of all ages who were approached by the drug dealers, offering a variety of substances.

The police operation resulted in the arrest of nine individuals, with seven searches conducted, including four commercial premises and three residences. The police seized 105 grams of cocaine, 223 grams of hashish, 280 grams of marijuana buds, over €300,000 in cash, and two high-end cars.

This operation was led and executed by the officers of the National Police’s Unit for Drug and Organised Crime (UDYCO) in Maspalomas, with support from the Special Security Operations Group (GOES) and police dogs from the Superior Police Headquarters of the Canary Islands, aiding in the detection of substances.

The investigation also revealed that this criminal organization was of Algerian origin and had been operating in the southern part of Gran Canaria, particularly associated with a 68-year-old British individual who managed a pub there. It’s worth noting that all individuals involved in this operation have been in the Canary Islands for many years, despite their foreign origins.

While the operation has made significant strides in disrupting the drug trade, the individuals arrested are currently on provisional release without bail, pending trial. They have denied any involvement in the crimes they are accused of.

The police investigation has shown that the drug ring used various commercial locations within the Kasbah shopping centre as a front for their drug sales, often relying on people without papers to distribute the substances. This investigation was initiated due to numerous reports from business owners and tourists who witnessed the open drug trade in the area.

The police’s efforts to combat this illegal activity have culminated in the seizure of a substantial amount of cash, drugs, and the arrest of key individuals, but the investigation is ongoing to uncover further links or details related to the criminal organisation’s activities.