Trojan Horse thieves ‘major threat to Europe’

Europe's top crime fighting body has been alerted by Spanish Civil Guard Police of a new style of cargo theft happening on roads across the continent: the Houdini-like 'Trojan Horse' method.

Trojan Horse thieves 'major threat to Europe'
According to Europol, thieves gain access to delivery lorries by hiding inside large wooden boxes labelled as ‘fragile’. Photo: Guardia Civil

Criminals have clocked on to a new daredevil but effective way of stealing valuable goods on the move.

According to Europol, thieves gain access to delivery trucks by hiding inside large wooden boxes labelled as ‘fragile’.

They are then collected by parcel delivery services and once en route inside the vehicle, they free themselves from the box and scan the rest of the truck’s contents for valuables including jewellery, phones and electronics.

Their next step involves contacting their accomplices, who either track the truck down with a GPS device or follow it at a distance, to then simulate an accident which forces the vehicle to stop.

That enables the ‘Trojan Horse’ thieves to escape via holes cut in the lorry’s roof.

Spanish Civil Guard made their last major arrest back in December 2013, when seven ‘alucineros’ – criminals whose modus operandi involves crashing cars into shop windows to then steal goods – were busted after carrying out two ‘Trojan Horse’ thefts on Madrid motorways.

Europol has therefore issued an early warning notification to alert police forces across Europe of an increasingly popular trend. 

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Spanish police seize 4.5 tonnes of cocaine off Canaries

Spanish police announced on Saturday the seizure of 4.5 tonnes of cocaine aboard a Togolese-flagged cargo ship from Latin America which was intercepted off the Canary Islands.

Spanish police seize 4.5 tonnes of cocaine off Canaries

The “Orion V”, which transported cattle from Latin America to the Middle East, had been under surveillance for over two years and had previously been “checked and searched, but no drugs could be found inside, despite the presence of sufficient clues”, police said.

A joint naval and air operation finally made the breakthrough locating the cocaine on Tuesday, hidden in a container used to feed the cattle.

The operation mobilised among others the American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre for narcotics (MAOC-N), the Togolese authorities and the Spanish police.

The 28 crew members from nine countries were arrested.

The “Orion V” was similar to another Togolese-flagged vessel, the “Blume”, which was intercepted in mid-January in the same area south-east of the Canary Islands, on which the same amount of cocaine was found.

A total of nine tonnes of drugs have been seized in January, police said in a statement.

Spain’s proximity to North Africa, a key source of hashish, and its close ties with former colonies in Latin America, the world’s main cocaine-producing region, have made it a gateway into Europe for drugs.