The Spanish Guardia Civil has arrested five Spanish men, aged between 23 and 46, for an alleged crime of robbery with force and for belonging to a criminal group and is investigating another 8 people, 5 Spaniards aged between 23 and 58, 2 Algerians aged between 18 and 38 and a 43 year old Romanian, for six crimes of theft. In all cases, table grapes grown in the town of Monforte del Cid were the product targeted.
As reported by the Guardia Civil, the events took place on September 20, when a number of agents were taking part in a special surveillance plan to protect the table grape harvest. They spotted four vehicles driving in a vineyard. This seemed suspicious, so they decided to monitor them.
Given the number of people in these vehicles, the agents requested the support of members of the Guardia Civil of Novelda and the Local Police of Monforte del Cid in order to block the exits from the area and prevent the suspects from escaping.
When the four vehicles tried to leave the farm they were intercepted and their occupants identified, having verified that they were carrying more than 1,000 kilos of table grapes of the Red Globe variety, while lacking the documentation proving the traceability or origin of the fruit.
Following the investigation, the agents have been able to verify that they were dealing with a group based in the city of Alicante, with family ties to each other, which was devoted to the subtraction of seasonal fruits in rural areas. Most of them have plenty of police records for similar incidents. They have also recovered another 645 kilos of different varieties that had also been stolen.