Tag: investigation

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

La Alcaldesa Bueno Secures Incredible Majority in Mogán

Mogán, May 29, 2023 – The often controversial incumbent, O Bueno, La Alcaldesa, has achieved an unprecedented and resounding victory once more in Mogán. The candidate who switched her party’s name, for these elections, to “Juntos por Mogán”, a local ally of the regionalist conservatives “Coalición Canaria” (CC), will once again assume the role of mayor. Her party has clinched a rather noteworthy 17 out of the 21 seats in the Municipal Council of this popular tourism destination located on the sunny southwest of Gran Canaria.

The Canary Guide Día de Canarias #WeekendTips 26-28 May 2023

What an interesting last weekend of May ahead. Weather predictions are showing some rain showers are likely across Gran Canaria. This extended #WeekendTips covers up to Tuesday, when all things Canarian are celebrated on the Día de Canarias. There’ll be some gorgeous Patron Saints’ festivities happening in San Fernando de Maspalomas as well as in Valleseco.

Fun Fact:
Valleseco literally means “dry valley” in Spanish, but is actually one of the wettest municipalities Gran Canaria. Nestling between the famous fresh water sources of Firgas & Teror, half way up the island’s mountainous northern slopes, this area is well known for its apple growers, cider and its weekly market

Six weeks since the unexplained disappearance of Anna-Karin on Gran Canaria

The authorities on Gran Canaria have been engaged in a rigorous search for Swedish tourist Anna-Karin Bengtsson, who went missing in the south of Gran Canaria around April 9. Her unexplained disappearance has caused her family much distress, with no clues to her whereabouts having emerged in the six weeks since they first realised her phone was no longer functioning.

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 19-21 May 2023


An exciting May weekend ahead with abundant events and festivities taking place all around Gran Canaria. There are Patron Saints’ festivities for Motor Grande, in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, and in El Tablero in the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana and up in the mountains of Artenara. There is also a two day lively exhibition event in Meloneras boulevard and the Rally Gran Canaria is held this Friday and Saturday.


Man found dead at landfill identified as Telde homeless man, named Raúl

The man found dead by workers at the Ecoparque Gran Canaria Sur landfill last Thursday, in Juan Grande, has been identified was being a 40 year old homeless man named Raúl. He was  known in the area of ​​Telde’s San Gregorio health clinic, where he spent his days assisting drivers to find parking, in the hope of earning small amounts of cash. His body was discovered when the collected refuse was being sorted, and upon first examination did not appear to show any signs of violence, leading preliminary investigators to suggest that he may have died of natural causes, or accidentally when the container in which he was sleeping was emptied into a collection truck in the neighbourhoods of Las Remudas, San Juan or on Calle Canovas del Castillo, where the truck had been doing its rounds. Policia Nacional are awaiting results of the autopsy to uncover the cause of death, and thereby direct the investigations.

The municipal street cleaning service workers began the Las Remudas, San Juan and Calle Cánovas del Castillo route at four that morning, after which they took their truck, as usual, to the landfill site to unload the waste collected. Raul’s corpse passed through several of the selective processes, until one of the operators noticed his body on the belt, where the waste was being divided. At around a quarter to seven that morning, EcoParque workers notified the Maspalomas National Police. Several patrols immediately went to the scene, near the southeast town of Juan Grande, in the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, to start an investigation, according to sources consulted.
The man could not initially be identified, but within hours the Homicide Brigade managed to name him: Raúl, a resident of Jinámar, who was dedicated to parking cars in the area of ​​the San Gregorio outpatients clinic and whose family comes from from the north of Gran Canaria.
The first inspection of the body indicated that, in principle, there were no signs of violence, pointing to a possible accidental or natural death. They determined which dumpster he was most likely to have been in, and considered where he had been sleeping there when the garbage truck came to empty the container. One hypotheses is that he was in Las Remudas, a neighbourhood where he was known to spend his evenings, after spending the day showing drivers where to park their vehicle near the San Gregorio health centre. The driver of the municipal vehicle did not notice his presence, as the containers are automatically picked up from the side of the vehicle.
A store worker in neighbourhood, speaking to Spanish language daily La Provincia, has been reported as saying that Raúl was a friendly person, who appeared practically every afternoon to ask for something to eat, having spent most days in the northeast town of Telde’s main urban area. On some occasions they saw him sleep at a bus stop in front of a supermarket, if he had no where else to go.
Raúl was also well known and liked among the stallholders of the Telde Market, according to another witness, where he used to go in the mornings to request some food. “He was a noble boy,” said the witness “last night he must have been cold and got into the container,” they added.
Body found at Juan Grande “EcoParque” landfill in south of Gran Canaria



La Alcaldesa, hoping to rise again, wants to wipe away the alleged “black cloud” for which she is still under investigation

La Alcaldesa, the still-serving Mogán mayor, currently presiding over Gran Canaria’s southwestern town hall, has been under investigation for years, for one thing or another, and arrested at least twice while working for the good people of Mogán, though currently she and her alleged co-conspirators do appear rather bullish, having once more escaped prosecution, this time on a technicality, following multiple allegations of electoral fraud, and other crimes, stemming from the Mogán local elections of 2015 and 2019. The events that took place both before and during the 2015 ballot were “prescribed”, meaning that too much time (more than 5 years) had passed to allow for prosecution under Spanish law (a time limit based on half the maximum penalty for the crime), while the investigation into the events surrounding the 2019 local elections, was provisionally dismissed, shelved for the moment, due to insufficient evidence of a crime.  By no means a win, but enough to motivate a desire to try to wipe away the damage caused, as she lines herself up to stand again in 2023, this time perhaps under an alternative political banner.
Based on the continuing investigative work of Ivan Suarez, writing for CanariasAhoraImage courtesy of Mogán Town Hall, Supplemental reporting, Timon .:.

Several judicial investigations into the mayor’s activities, and other members of her team, however, continue. At a press conference, a couple of weeks back, on March 25, just one week after the case was provisionally dismissed, La Alcaldesa, Onalia Bueno, (whose party call themselves Citizens for Change – CIUCA) expressed her desire to dissipate the “black cloud” that, she said, has settled over her since she has been a politician. However, the incumbent Mogán mayoress continues, at least for the time being, to be under scrutiny. Court of Instruction 3, in San Bartolomé de Tirajana, last week presented four different lines of enquiry to the court administration offices. Each had been separated, from this wide-ranging electoral fraud investigation, to be studied independently, based on evidence gathered by the Guardia Civil, following on from their scrutiny of the suspected plot, having presented the facts uncovered after CIUCA had gained control of the town hall administration.
These four lines of inquiry respond to the four reports, issued by judicial police, which appear to implicate La Alcaldesa and which, in the opinion of investigators, may constitute various crimes (prevarication, embezzlement, bribery, illegal appointments, influence peddling, disobedience to judicial authority and infidelity in the custody of documents).
The investigating judge, Francisco Javier Ramírez de Verger, decided to break down the legal case, so as to speed up proceedings and avoid delays. “These are not related crimes, although they may be tangentially related to the investigation,” he stated in a judgement dated July 28, last year. That resolution was appealed by one of the defendants, businessman Luis Oller (Aguas de Arguineguín), whom the judicial police point to as the likely financier of the alleged vote-buying plot, and beneficiary of a mediation process that was allegedly rigged by the town council led by Bueno and her crew.
The appeal was, however, dismissed, and division of the procedures was confirmed. Last week, a Justice Administration lawyer issued official documents which have now been submitted to the offices of the San Bartolomé de Tirajana courts, which must now distribute the four cases among the various investigating courts of the judicial district, according to established norms.
One important line of investigation focuses specifically on Luis Oller, president of one of the companies that operate the main water supply service for the Mogán area (a company noted for its repeated failure to supply water safe enough for human or animal consumption, or even for cooking or brushing one’s teeth with, over recent months and years). The Guardia Civil identified Oller as the presumed financier of the alleged conspiracy which swept Bueno to power, after several cheques, drawn in his name, were discovered to have been cashed in the days running up to the 2015 Mogán Town Council elections, namely by CIUCA official Salvador Álvarez, one of Bueno’s closest collaborators in that campaign. The investigators expose, in one of their reports, Álvarez’s repeated “obstinacy” in favouring Oller “in all municipal areas” and focus their suspicions on a mediation process, ostensibly to resolve a dispute that the businessman had had with the municipal corporation for several years. That process appeared to the investigators to have been rigged, leading to two of the lawyers advising, who’d expressed their reluctance to accept the proposed agreement, even having been removed from the procedure to pay Oller public money, thought to be in return for alleged favours to and by CIUCA during the 2015 election campaign.
Another of the investigations focuses on the appointments of eight public employees to the Mogán Town Council, and then increases in their specific remunerations. According to the Guardia Civil, the mayoress allegedly granted jobs and bonuses to these public servants, some of whom are directly related to the mayor, and who likely collaborated in that same campaign for Ciuca as “vote catchers”. Some bonuses were subsequently judged in court to be “arbitrary and lacking in legitimacy” and were ordered annulled. Among the testimonies sent by Court of Instruction number 3, in San Bartolomé de Tirajana, to the offices of the court, is a statement made before the judge by one Francisco Javier Bueno, the mayor’s own cousin and a beneficiary of these improper salary increases on two occasions, as he himself acknowledged in that appearance. In a letter, explaining her abstention from the vote to allow the pay increases, due to the presence of her relative, the mayor took the opportunity to also state that this bonus was “more than deserved”.
Mencey & Bueno in Mogan just before their arrests
Judicial police have also detected signs of embezzlement and prevarication in several contracts awarded to the mayor’s current Urban Planning advisor, Raico Guerra, and his family’s company, Arpiplan, between 2015 and 2020 worth a total of €276,000 in public funds. In one of the monographic reports that have led to the opening of this case, investigators detected a “manifest intention” by the Ciuca government, to financially benefit Guerra and his entourage, who then became the sole contractors to the Town Council overseeing veterinary services during that time. The Guardia Civil has also emphasised that he was appointed urban advisor to the Council despite his “limited” technical knowledge (having only a Basic General Education) and that, two days before his appointment, the Consistory had signed a contract for External advice on urban matters with one Jesús Romera Espeja, an architect and urban planner who has held various positions under the Canarian Coalition (CC), to whom Bueno has been allying herself, among them that of Deputy Minister of Territorial Policy under Fernando Clavijo when the CC was in power, as part of the Canary Islands Regional Government.
The last line of investigation concerns events that took place in the period immediately following the arrest of Mayor Onalia Bueno, alongside her councillors Mencey Navarro (Urban Planning and First Deputy Mayor) and Tania del Pino Alonso (Councillor for Social Services), on September 17, 2020. One day earlier, the judge had authorised Guardia Civil to enter, the Mogán municipal town hall offices, in Arguineguín and Pueblo de Mogán, for the search and seizure of documents and computer files, as a result of the investigations being carried out by judicial police, on suspicion of the existence of “objective, accessible and verifiable” evidence that could corroborate the participation of members of the local corporation in actions presumed to constitute an electoral crime against the public administration, a crime against the people of Mogán.
After investigators gained access, to monitor the town hall computer systems, the mayor and the first deputy mayor subsequently ordered their head of the IT service to disconnect the investigators from the systems.  This was contrary to the legal permits and court orders that had been given to the Guardia Civil during the operation, which allowed them to access, search and monitor the digital files stored there. That instruction from La Alcaldesa, is evidenced in WhastApp messages and would later be reversed by Navarro, and is the focus of a separate investigation into the administration for an alleged crime against the justice department.
Appeal against the order to provisionally dismiss the 2019 electoral fraud investigation
The order to dismiss the 2019 electoral crimes case has been appealed by one of the ten or so defendants charged and under investigation, José Monzón. He is known locally in the municipality as Pepe ‘el japonés’, and was charged, along with various others, as a result of a recording in which he can be heard telling the conservative Partido Popular (PP) ex-mayor of Mogán, Paco González, that during the 2015 electoral campaign he, El Japonés, had collaborated with CIUCA to gather 383 votes, in exchange of money and favours. “We have to play dirty,” he said in that conversation with Bueno’s predecessor, after explaining in detail the mechanics used to buy the votes that helped swing the election in her favour.  González too has faced accusations of vote-buying in the past, but never on this scale.
Monzón’s defence lawyers appealed the judicial decision to dismiss the alleged 2019 electoral crimes, because, in their opinion, the dismissal should have been definitive and not just provisional. In other words, they insist that there should no longer be any possibility of reopening the 2019 case, considering it the same as the alleged 2015 crimes, which are now prescribed and can no longer be pursued. The Prosecutor’s Office continues to oppose the appeal.  A shadow remains over Mogán.


42 year old arrested in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria on suspicion of setting fire to neighbour’s car

The Guardia Civil Main Post in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, Mogán, arrested a 42-year-old last March 11, allegedly the perpetrator of the crimes of arson and damage having set fire to their neighbour’s car causing damage to a residential complex belonging to a Community of the Property Owners in the town. The events occurred during the early hours of February 26, when the Puerto Rico Civil Guard were alerted to an incident at a duplex located on Calle Valencia, where a vehicle was on fire.

At the scene they documented a complaint (denuncia) and carried out an investigation of the facts. Subsequently, the complainant pressed charges, which led the president of the community, to also report the alleged forcing of a door into a room belonging to the community of apartments.
The allegations were directly related, and so the police made inquiries based on a technical visual inspection of the vehicle, in conjunction with the appearance of possible witnesses, and analysis of images provided by the community itself.
With all this, it was possible to determine that the perpetrator of the vehicle fire had also forced the doors of the community room, and that the suspect’s family lives in the house next door to the apartment where the car was set on fire and that they were in the family home on the weekend in question, allowing investigators to verify how the suspect allegedly forced the door of the community room and later caused the fire, setting light to the gasoline tank, which damaged the rear of the vehicle.
Differences between the family of the alleged perpetrator and the community of owners appear to have been the motive behind the arson attack.
Thankfully there were no major repercussions or damage to the property, and nobody was injured, due to the rapid action of the Guardia Civil patrol and later to the local Fire Brigade, given that the burning vehicle was parked in a private car park in front of the house, just in front of its only entrance, which could have prevented residents from leaving if the flames had spread to the dwelling itself.
Once the police report was completed, the alleged perpetrator was arrested, and placed at the disposal of the Duty Magistrates Court of San Bartolomé de Tirajana.


Puerto Bello complex claims €1million in damages from Canary Islands Government

The owners of the Puerto Bello apartment complex, in the popular tourist town of Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, are claiming nearly one million euros from the Canary Islands Government for damages caused by some of a group of unaccompanied migrant minors who were being sheltered there for several months, ostensibly under the guardianship of the Canary Islands Regional Autonomous Executive.
Featured Image: Puerto Bello damage, Image by @Rafaleonortega/CanariasAhora

According to the owners, some of the damage stemmed from the disturbances that took place on February 8 2021, which were allegedly organised by a man who had falsely claimed to be a minor.  Sources from the Ministry of Social Rights have explained to independent news portal CanariasAhora that when the person suspected of being responsible for the riot was arrested, it was quickly proven that he was in fact of legal age.
Several adults were suspected to be among the more than two thousand foreign children who arrived alone on the Canary Islands throughout 2020, a problem that grew in the Archipelago at the same time as unprecedented numbers of migrant arrivals were  not able to be removed or to leave of their own volition, due to pandemic restrictions in place at the time. The main cause of these adults being placed among children in care was identified as being initial errors by the National Police at the point of first contact and the subsequent lengthy delays in carrying out age determination tests and obtaining the results. This prevented many youths, being cared from by the state, from being able to be sent to school until their age was officially determined.
In fact, on the very same day that these disturbances occurred, misplaced adults were suspected of causing problems, which we had explained at the time following one of our many visits to this centre, and others, in the area:
“95 percent” of current problems in migrant minor accommodations caused by those suspected to really be adults

Hermanos Medina La Herradura SL, who own the Puerto Bello complex, will demand the payment of the damages by administrative means, from the autonomous community, withdrawing their private accusation in the case against the young Moroccan whose trial was to be held this Tuesday at the Provincial Court of Las Palmas, but which was suspended due to a failure to summon some of the witnesses, according to sources from the Prosecutor’s Office.
The lawyer for the complex, Álvaro Campanario, pointed out that the Prosecutor’s Office are claiming €10,092 worth of damage caused in the attempted riot, allegedly incited and led by the accused Ahmed H., but that there were many more incidents that occurred in the apartments during the nine months it was being used as a temporary reception centre for unaccompanied minors arriving by boat.
The contract between Puerto Bello and the Regional Government expired on July 31 with the complex once again beginning to operate as tourist accommodation, as of the end of 2021, according to court papers.
During the time the property was assigned as an accommodation centre for unaccompanied migrant minors, it was under the supervision of the NGO, Fundación Respuesta Social Siglo XXI, who since 2001 have provided services and infrastructure in the field of childhood and youth social care, developing programs that range from educational and residential care for minors to the management of Nursery Schools, through the implementation of training and employment promotion programs for the young.
The young Moroccan on trial faces up to five years in prison accused of crimes of public disorder, in competition with attack and causing damage, having allegedly led a small rampage through the facility, in the company of other residents, all minors, on the night of February 8, 2021.  Full responsibility for the disturbances on that night have been placed squarely on the shoulders of the accused man, who had misrepresented himself as also being a minor, and who should not have been among the unaccompanied youths who were being cared for at the facility.
According to the Public Prosecutor’s accusation, the defendant, carrying a wooden leg torn from a bed in one of the rooms, and in the company of four other minors – who also carried chains, wooden sticks and broken glass – intimidated the young residents of the complex, the vast majority of whom would not join their violent revolt, though he managed to get about twenty to follow him and make trouble.
As a result of that night’s events, the defendant and the other minors caused damage to every floor of the Puerto Bello complex, breaking the glass in doors and windows, breaking all kinds of furniture and appliances, electrical outlets and light sockets, say the Prosecutor’s Office in their brief.
The charges include details of how some minors threw objects, such as microwaves, chairs and tables, from the balconies of the rooms on the upper floors, to the lower ones, causing the educators present at the centre to have to hide to avoid being injured while they waited for the arrival of the security forces.
The agents, when they appeared at the complex, observed the placement of barricades built with chairs, microwaves and glass smashed on the floor, the perpetrators having spilled soapy water to try to prevent access and their arrest, which took several hours, says the indictment.
Unsubstantiated accusations of a failure to protect children
An anonymous complaint, purporting to be from a group of workers at the centre, claimed that there had been some evidence of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation among the vulnerable residents, which occurred both inside and outside the establishment. According to the text, to which CanariasAhora has had access, at least three minors from the centre were suspected to have practiced some form of prostitution, both inside the establishment and also outside, with adults in the local area.
According to these reports of unchecked exploitation, at least one minor was said to have also suffered sexual abuse, perpetrated by adults incorrectly accommodated there, who, despite the fact that their legal age had already been proven, had not yet been referred to another adult reception facility elsewhere in the Archipelago.
The complainants furthermore claimed that the management of the centre were aware of these facts, but that they had “refused to request diagnostic tests for sexually transmitted diseases for the minors.” And it was this, theoretically, that motivated the complaint emailed to the Canary Islands social services and to the local town hall.
It was specifically this anonymous complaint that led the Government of the Canary Islands to order two urgent inspections, which did not manage to obtain any proof the veracity of the accusations. A few days after the document became known in the media, the Las Palmas Prosecutor’s Office, through their Minors’ Section, called for those responsible for the appeal to testify.
Minors continue to be moved from Puerto Rico while prosecutors investigate anonymous allegations

Puerto Bello investigation looks more closely as it emerges current director is newly appointed



Suspect arrested in Gran Canaria north after Gáldar bus driver attack, detainee’s mother heartbroken

Guardia Civil have arrested a 21-year-old man, with numerous prior police records, accused of stabbing a bus driver in the early hours of Tuesday morning at the Gáldar municipal bus station, as the driver started his work day.

The Guardia Civil said in a statement that the person, a resident of the area, was suspected of being responsible for the alleged crime of attempted homicide, just before 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, having attacked a bus driver, causing serious injuries, when he had refused to give the man, who was begging, any money.
Subsequently, the alleged aggressor fled on foot from the place to the urban centre of Gáldar, where he was arrested some hours later, while the wounded man was assisted at the scene by members of the SUC and later transferred by ambulance to the Doctor Negrín Hospital de Gran Canaria.
At the scene an investigation conducted by personnel from the Judicial Police Unit of the Las Palmas Command, the Judicial Police Territorial Team and personnel from the Santa María de Guía investigation area and Gáldar Local Police, resulted in the arrest of the alleged perpetrator.
The Organic Unit of the Judicial Police and the Territorial Team of the Judicial Police of Santa María de Guía continue with the instruction of the corresponding proceedings that will be delivered together with the detainee to the corresponding courts of Santa María de Guía, added the note.

Meanwhile the mother of the detainee as published a frank and heart-rending message on social media, after various groups began circulating images of her son, and making all sorts of outlandish claims. Heartbroken she extends her sorrow, sympathy and her apologies to the victim and his family, saying that she had repeatedly reported her son for violent behaviour, and that she felt her warnings had been ignored, leaving her to try to keep the young man in the house as much as possible to avoid others being hurt. She makes no excuses for him, and simply hopes that he may now get some of the help he needs, but to her mind he should have been taken off the streets a long time ago, no matter how hard she tried, the authorities could not assist her in dealing with her son.
She is quoted in the Spanish press as saying “Yesterday my world fell [apart] my son almost killed a human being. My son, something that could have been avoided if they had given me alternatives, if they had put him in prison from the first criminal act, but no, gentlemen, it is now that everyone wants to do something. I apologise to that man, to his family, I feel a lot of pain and my son is going to pay for his actions”
“But,” she pleads “stop so many speculations, the aggressor also has a family. I don’t have to share this, it’s something very private that I’ve been suffering for years, but since people have started sharing his photo, I’m not going to justify or take responsibility for their decisions by pointing them out. I do feel obliged to apologise and say “it could have been avoided.”


Guardia Civil arrests two men for animal abuse and abandonment in Santa Lucía de Tirajana

The Guardia Civil’s Seprona Patrol (Environment and Animal welfare) from the Vecindario Post, between January 08 and 14,  arrested a 26-year-old man and another 50-year-old man, as the alleged perpetrators of a crime of animal abuse and abandonment. The events occurred after several residents of Santa Lucía de Tirajana provided the Guardia Civil videos and photographs of the unfortunate state the animals were being kept in, suspecting a possible case of mistreatment or omission of the necessary care for their subsistence.

A uniformed SEPRONA patrol moved to the place, indicated by the local residents, and found twelve dogs, most of them hunting dogs.
The habitats where the animals were found were in a state that was incompatible with life, due to a lack of hygiene and, furthermore, the dogs were in a state of extreme malnourishment with obvious infestations by different parasites and many had unhealed wounds.
One of the dogs was missing half a leg and the wound was still unhealed due to lack of veterinary care.
Of the twelve animals, 4 lacked the requisite identification or documentation for their possession, for which Seprona initiated several administrative files, including lack of vaccination, lacking town hall registrations in the census and lack of a zoocan identifications.
It should be noted that, during the inspection carried out by the Guardia Civil, several interested people approached, requesting to be able to express their objections to the treatment that these animals. Subsequently, 9 people filed official  complaints, arguing that the facts had already been exposed to other institutions outside the Guardia Civil, not only because of the state of the animals but because they did not stop barking all day.
The Guardia Civil communicated with those responsible for Santa Lucía Town Council, requesting they collect the animals, also requesting the presence of a veterinary doctor to come to the scene, for an in-situ assessment of the state of the animals and their kennels before seizing the animals. Once an examination of each animal was carried out, they were handed over to the municipal services of the Santa Lucía de Tirajana Town Council, remaining in custody at the Council’s facilities until a resolution or judicial pronouncement can be made in this regard.
During the inspection, SEPRONA detected two buildings in the area where the animals were located that were built illegally on protected rustic land, also carrying out the appropriate steps in terms of urban planning for a crime Against Territorial Planning.
Proceedings and detainees were handed over to the Duty Court of San Bartolomé de Tirajana.



Policia nacional’s “Operation Arión” broke up a trafficking ring that may have organised transit for thousands of migrants, using false documentation, and with access to thousands of passports

“Operation Arión” was the name given to a coordinated series of raids, as part of a covert operation, across the south of Gran Canaria, and on mainland Spain that has managed to smash an organised criminal gang, suspected of having arranged transport for thousands of incoming migrants from the Canary Islands to the peninsula. More than 300 migrants, who had arrived in the archipelago aboard open boats, known as pateras and cayucos, had their travel arranged from the same travel agency in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria.  Investigators suspect the gang may have profited by more than €500,000, with access to possibly thousands of passports, and having moved many hundreds, if not thousands, of migrants irregularly through Gran Canaria and other islands.

The Policía Nacional‘s General Commissariat for Immigration earlier this month managed to expose and shut down at least three criminal groups, who together coordinated the management of illegal migrants who landed on the Canary Islands in pateras, facilitating travel from there to the Peninsula as well as other countries within the European Union. They supplied documents that either came from third parties or else they falsified paperwork to enable onward transit.
Policía Nacional “Operation Arión” in Arguineguín. Image:- Canariavisen
Working out of an Arguineguín hairdressers, called Barbershop Akram, which was named after the son of the couple who ran it, very near to the port where a large number of the arriving migrants were being brought in to safety, after having been rescued by the Spanish lifeboat service, Salvamento Marítimo, according journalist JM Zuloaga writing in Spanish daily La Razón, on Monday. The venture was allegedly headed by a Moroccan national, who originates from the mountainous Rif region of northern Morocco, identified with the initials TB; and his wife, KB. Their operation was dedicated to more than just cutting hair, or offering shaves, hiding in plain sight they allegedly coordinated a plot which may have sent thousands of people, who arrived on the islands from Morocco and other African countries, on to the Spanish Peninsula.
Those wising to leave the Archipelago, and head to Europe paid €1,500, if they already had a valid passport; and, otherwise, €2,000 for travel and documents to be arranged, by the organised group, who provided passports that had previously been used by other people, according to sources from within the investigation, consulted by La Razón.
The barber’s plot was well coordinated, using “captadores”, (procurers or  “captors”), whose job it was to move through the tourist hotels undetected, where migrants were being temporarily accommodated under the care of NGOs, on the south of Gran Canaria, to offer their services.
Policía Nacional “Operation Arión” in Arguineguín.  Image:- Canariavisen
Once a client had been secured, they were instructed to go to the hairdresser’s shop and deposit money and, if they did not have it immediately available, they were pointed to a specific pay phone booth from which to ask their relatives in Morocco to send funds via wire transfer. Once the fee had been sent they were given a passport to use as a supporting document so that they could receive the amount and pay the gang.
A nearby Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria travel agency arranged the tickets, as part of a “package” which included a false reservation for a hotel in the city to which they were trying to get.
The married couple, the person who controlled the pay phone and the director of the travel agency, are all among those who were arrested in a coordinated series of raids that took place across the south of Gran Canaria and on the mainland.
Policía Nacional “Operation Arión” in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria Image:- Canariavisen
Before taking the arranged flights, or boarding the ship booked for their passage, migrants gathered in the hairdresser’s awaiting a pick up vehicle to take them to the port or airport of departure.
Among the travelling migrants, throughout each trip, was the “pasador“, whose job it was to collect the passports then take a flight back to the Canary Islands so that the documents could be used again.
It was on one of these journeys that Spanish National Police from the Immigration department, managed to detect a group, including the “passer” and six migrants, at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport.
The arrivals were noticed by agents simply for displaying particularly defiant attitudes, enough for them to stand out in the crowd, despite displaying great self-discipline, as if they had received some kind of training. The “passer” tried to hide the passports in a public restroom, but was caught out by surprise, before he could board a return trip to Tenerife.
The people in the hairdresser operation kept records details about a thousand passports and, more importantly, a full registry containing the names of the travellers, as well as the flights for which tickets were purchased for each one. More than 300 tickets had been order through the one travel agency.
The hairdresser allegedly treated the other participants in the plot very well, and paid them generously for the work they did. In the safe, in the shop, in the centre of Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, some €300,000 in cash were found.
4,000 passports and 45 arrests
When some of the migrants started to have difficulties embarking at the ports and airports on Gran Canaria and Tenerife, the plotters began to divert migrants to other islands, where a contingent group would also be sent to wait on standby, to ensure it one group was stopped, another might get through.
All the different operational groups in the network are said to have come from Morocco’s Rif region and, over time, a few broke away from the central organisation to set up their own businesses.
Police specialists involved in “Operation Arión” are now trying to establish the number of people moved through the hairdresser network, with first estimates that they could have had up to 4,000 passports at their disposal.
At least 45 arrests were made as part of an extensive operation in different parts of Spain, with charges ranging from document falsification to crimes against the rights of foreign citizens, 17 of these people having already been jailed awaiting trial. Police estimate that the profits to these organisations could well have been more than half a million euros, and but could be much higher than that.
One of the groups involved, during the latter half of 2020, was found to have arranged transit for more than 300 immigrants via Las Palmas.  The “Operation Arión” investigation was supported by Europol and various units of the Policia Nacional, coordinated by the San Bartolomé de Tirajana Court of Instruction No. 3 on the south of Gran Canaria.


Tenerife man detained with 3D printed guns has “a worrying profile and is obsessed with weapons”

The man found making weapons using 3D printers, as well as homemade improvised explosives devices (IEDs) who was arrested in Santa Cruz de Tenerife last September, after a secret investigation that lasted more than year, has been identified with the initials JM. According to police sources, he presented “a worrying profile”, as someone who mixes an obsession with weaponry and a manifest interest in terrorist activities, urban guerrilla-craft and a far-right ideology. He is known to have used the so-called “dark web” to obtain manuals to further his dangerous activities and to have produced a number of what appear to look like functioning 3D printed guns.

The 55-year-old, of Spanish nationality, owns four properties on Tenerife and in the largest he was discovered to have a functioning workshop to build weapons, in an area known as Vistabella, next to the San Joaquín castle.
Investigators from the Policía Nacional General Information Commissary working with the Provincial Information Brigade and the Aduanas Customs Surveillance Investigation Group found his only known economic activity was as the administrator of a residence for the elderly, also located in Vistabella.
However, agents started a patrimonial investigation to find out if he has other income. JM is currently on probation pending trial. Up until September, he had no criminal record in Spain. The investigation began in early 2020, when intelligence detected that he was acquiring the precursor items necessary to manufacture explosive devices as well as ordering “Nazi supremacists” material. In one statement, the accused is said to have spontaneously claimed that he was linked to the Venezuelan Army until just over 20 years ago, when Hugo Chávez came to power. That claim has been discounted for now.
After travelling to Florida (USA) his interest in the operation and use of small and long barrelled weapons is thought to have grown exponentially. He frequented shooting galleries and ranges and arms trade fairs. According to sources, “he is obsessed” with firearms, but he has not displayed any clear signs of mental illness. During the proceedings of the investigation, it has been proven that he accessed the dark web to download manuals on terrorism and bomb making, some of which he produced and later exploded.
The existence of so many frames for 3D printed guns seems to suggest that his overall objective was to commercialise the units, though it is not clear if he had other specific plans or links to groups with intentions to use them. Despite the fact that 3D printers can now manufacture up to 95% of the parts of a handgun in plastic, there are still some element that must be made of metal, including the firing pin, which can be acquired from China or the United States over the internet.  Experts consulted by TheCanaryNews say that it is highly improbable that most individuals would be able to make a functioning weapon, due to the extreme forces involved, meaning that if the frames were not particularly strengthened in the right way they would be more likely to explode in the had of the user than to cause any serious harm to others. But, they say, it can be done.

Police have commented that they are most concerned about the moment when citizens are able to access 3D printers to produce metallic objects.  Such printers do already exist already, able to print metallic reinforced components, though it is not clear if they are yet of a standard that can be used in weapons manufacture, the base machines start at as little as €10,000 each, and as time goes on are likely to become more advanced and more affordable, raising the spectre of an age when functioning weaponry could become accessible to even the most fringe organisations and ideologies.