Officers made the startling discovery of plantations that would have produced 3,500 of cannabis, after tracking a gang of Albanian robbers deep into forests within two remote corners of the northeastern region.
Members of the gang were under surveillance after a spate of thefts from bars and petrol stations between Zaragoza and Huesca.
They led police to two massive plantations, one near Agüero in Huesca province and the other near Murillo de Gállego closer to Zaragoza which could only be reached by offroad vehicles on a 30 minute track through the forest and a further half an hour walk along narrow paths.
Desmantelada la mayor plantación de #marihuana localizada hasta la fecha en #Aragón. Las 16.000 plantas habían sido cultivadas en una zona boscosa de difícil acceso y eran vigiladas las 24 horas desde campamentos de campaña. Hay 6 detenidos pic.twitter.com/tLOlswQOhS
— Policía Nacional (@policia) November 17, 2019
“The gang had chopped down large areas of pine trees to maximise the amount of space for growing marijuana,” police said in a statement issued on Monday.
Police said the sites were guarded day and night and serviced by a sophisticated irrigation system.
“They adapted gullies to store water, which was then fed to the plantations using pumps, hoses and electrical generators.”
“Their permanent vigils, together with a perfect knowledge of the forests in which they lived, made the investigation on the ground enormously difficult,” continued the statement.
Over a period of seven months, some 70 officers investigated what they dubbed Operation Copitos resulting in “ the complete dismantling of the six-person gang and the seizure of 16,000 plants weighing a total of 3.5 tonnes,” said the statement.
“It is the biggest seizure to date of marijuana in Aragón.”