The National Police has dismantled a criminal organization that was dedicated to committing robberies with force and robberies with violence on the island of Tenerife and has arrested eleven people after eight months of investigation who would have amassed an amount close to 140,000 euros in profits that were subsequently laundered with the use of cryptocurrency wallets.
The technological crimes group learned of the existence of this criminal gang as a result of a complaint filed in September 2021, in which a woman informed the Police that a cryptoactive storage device had been stolen from her home, known as a cold purse, which contained an approximate value of 40,000 euros.
Once the investigations began, the indications were leading the members of the National Police to various people who received the stolen cryptocurrencies, resulting, after various information crossings with other current investigations, that they were related to a criminal organization based in Santa Cruz de Tenerife for four years and dedicated to robbery with force and robbery with violence. In this way, it was possible, in turn, to clarify multiple crimes committed by these people.
The organization, with a pyramidal structure with three main leaders, was engaged in various criminal activities. On the one hand, they perpetrated violent robberies on victims whom they had previously watched and followed before approaching them, which also allowed them to know the routines of their victims and know if they were at home or not, if they lived alone, etc., in order to take advantage of to also commit robberies with force in homes. In this sense, their preferred victims were older people to take advantage of their vulnerability and steal money and jewelry.
In addition, they also had sufficient technical knowledge to fraudulently obtain crypto assets, given their difficult tracking, seeking younger victims familiar with this type of product. Specifically, one of the members of the gang worked in a worldwide distribution company, which allows payments with these systems. When he detected a payment in cryptocurrencies, he collected enough information to assess his suitability as a victim and access his crypto-asset portfolios to appropriate his value.
Later, once the loot was obtained, they sold the stolen objects on the black market or laundered the money from the cryptoactives in other similar products. However, the lack of knowledge of some members of the organization was the gateway for members of the National Police to track operations and identify criminals and victims.
Thus, after obtaining sufficient evidence and making the pertinent requests to the corresponding legal authorities, eight entries and searches were carried out simultaneously in the areas of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Radazul, where they were found from bladed weapons and blunt objects up to 64 grams of cocaine and ten kilos of hashish, passing through exotic animals stolen from a Tenerife foundation, resulting in the arrest of eleven people, ten Spaniards and a foreigner with an expulsion order in force in Spain, among the who were leaders, lieutenants and trusted men.