• The suspect was part of a gang which carried out bank robberies and in assaults in Vega Baja and Murcia. The alleged leader of the gang was on the run from prison after not returning from a short period of release.

Officers from the Civil Guard have dismantled a violent gang of robbers that operated between the provinces of Alicante and Murcia. The gang is said to have carried out bank raids and assaults in the Murcian district of Cobatillas and in the Alicante town of Benijófar.

The assaults included the use of firearms in which employees and customers were taken hostage.

One of the robbers was traced and arrested after not returning to the prison where he was serving a sentence, following his temporary release on a permit. Agents have also arrested two experienced robbers and three other people who collaborated in the robberies.

The first robbery took place at the end of last March when civil guards from the Beniel Judicial Police Team opened an operation to investigate a robbery with intimidation committed in a bank office in the Murcian district of Cobatillas, involving two men who were armed, one of them with a pistol and the other with a large knife.

During the robbery, they managed to tie up a total of six people, opening the bank’s safe and taking more than 40,000 euros.

The investigators recognized and were able to identify one of the robbers, who turned out to be a known thief, with a long criminal history for similar acts, who, in addition, was being sought for not returning to prison, where he was serving a sentence for similar crimes, after enjoying release on a permit.

In May, members of the Alicante Civil Guard further arrested the alleged perpetrator of a robbery at a bank in Benijófar. It was a robbery with violence and intimidation committed with the same modus operandi as the one in Murcia. During the robbery, the authors used a firearm and held an employee inside the branch. In this case, when the Local Police arrived, he fled in a vehicle after threatening the hostage with a pistol.

The alleged robber was arrested in San Miguel de Salinas, after recklessly driving on the AP-7 motorway, in the opposite direction and skipping the Los Montesinos toll barrier. At the time of the arrest, he was carrying a pistol, a knife and a mobile phone.

After the arrest, members of the Almoradí Judicial Police Team opened another where they found similar crimes in Murcia, for which a joint investigation team was created with the objective of clarifying both criminal acts and locating all their authors.

Moment of the Civil Guard search at the address where the alleged ringleader was hiding.
Moment of the Civil Guard search at the address where the alleged ringleader was hiding.

The Civil Guard then carried out the entry and search of a property in Fortuna, two other collaborators were arrested. Shortly after, in Almoradí, the fifth member of the criminal group was also arrested. These last three collaborated with the ringleaders, giving them the necessary support to commit the robberies and to hide and thus avoid being located.

In the Fortuna search, weapons, ammunition and other effects related to the criminal activity were seized. Some of the weapons were loaded with ammunition, with a ‘bullet in the chamber’ and ready to fire. In total, three pistols have been seized, a submachine gun with a silencer, two long weapons, metallic ammunition of the same calibre as the seized weapons, white weapons and objects used in the robberies, such as plastic ties, gloves, etc.

The detainees are said to be responsible for the crimes of robbery with violence and intimidation, illegal detention, illegal possession of weapons, concealment and against road safety, for reckless driving.