Five homes in Nerja, Frigiliana and La Viñuela were raided by police last month in an investigation into the laundering of money made from drugs trafficking. The operation followed the detentions of 16 people of British and Swiss nationalities and resulted in the seizure of cash and luxury goods.

Five private homes and one commercial premises were embargoed and 14 vehicles seized in the joint operation between the Guardia Civil and the province’s customs surveillance authorities. Investigators say the searches were ordered after the suspected leader of the gang was seen to have experienced a large increase in assets – particularly real estate, vehicles and luxury items -which were not justified by his household’s declared income.

A number homes believed to be used for drugs sales were entered in the three municipalities and quantities of hashish, cocaine and marijuana confiscated. Also removed were a weapon, IT equipment and vehicles, plus two drones.

The vehicles seized have a value estimated at more than €3 million while 29 bank accounts blocked by police are reported to hold almost €470,000. A taxi operating licence has also been revoked and those detained are facing charges of money laundering while a number of others remain under investigation.

In a separate operation in Vélez-Málaga, National Police have arrested eight people suspected of selling drugs. Three homes were raided and quantities of cocaine and hashish, plus cash, eight mobile phones, two vehicles and drugs paraphernalia were seized. Investigators believe that the dealers used minors to deliver orders to their customers.