The Guardia Civil said 27 people were detained in Spain and France as part of a multi-national criminal investigation into illegal eel trafficking.
Raids were coordinated by Spain’s Guardia Civil, the French National Gendarmerie, and Europol and the European Anti-Fraud Office as part of an investigation that began in 2021, the Spanish police force said on May 11.
Police searched 30 homes, businesses, and “clandestine hatcheries” in Spain, France, Belgium, and Poland.
More than 1.5 tons of live eels were recovered, along with “several tons of frozen batches” of eels not suitable for the food chain. More than €2 million in assets were also confiscated, the Guardia Civil said.
The transnational organization operated in northern Spain and southern France by leaders who “controlled the entire eel supply and distribution chain outside of government controls,” it said.
The live eels were set to be released, police said. Credit: Guardia Civil via Storyful