Former British Navy submariner arrested in Spain for 'drug smuggling'

Former British Navy submariner is arrested in Spain for ‘using his military training to run a drug smuggling operation in the Strait of Gibraltar’ after police seize 1.5 tons of hashish

  • Robert Mark Benson, 64, was arrested after a complex probe by Spanish police
  • Accused of using his Royal Navy training to smuggle drugs in the Gibraltar strait
  • Police claim he has links to gangs in UK, Ukraine where he allegedly sent drugs 
  • Suspected of using shell companies to launder money from the drug smuggling 

Robert Mark Benson, 64, has been arrested in Spain on suspicion of using his military training to run a drug smuggling operation in the Strait of Gibraltar

A British Navy submariner has been arrested in Spain on suspicion of using his military training to run a drug smuggling operation in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Robert Mark Benson, 64, was detained with ten alleged accomplices last week following a lengthy investigation by Spanish police. 

Police also seized wo vessels with 1.5 tonnes of hashish aboard in the raid. 

Officers claim Benson has links to criminal organisations in the UK and Ukraine, where he allegedly sent the drugs.  

He is also accused of laundering the drug smuggling money through shell companies, possibly through two businesses he set up in 2015 – Yacht Matters and Real Estate Cafe.    

Officers claim Benson has links to criminal organisations in the UK and Ukraine, where he allegedly sent the drugs

 He was detained with ten alleged accomplices last week when Spanish police seized 1.5 tonnes of hashish from two vessels allegedly controlled by Benson

Police said the gang were extremely cautious and meticulous about planning their operation, meeting only at sea and avoiding public transport over fears of getting caught.

Investigators first cottoned on to Benson’s alleged activities in August 2020, when officers discovered 600kg of hashish aboard a yacht docked in the Spanish North African enclave of Ceuta. 

The operation helped investigators track down the rest of the trafficking ring, allegedly linking Benson to a Ceuta-based criminal gang known to supply hashish to smugglers.

In November, police once again foiled the elaborate enterprise, intercepting a boat carrying a tonne of hashish in Sotogrande, Cádiz. 

Investigators wrapped up the probe last week with the arrest of Benson and nine alleged accomplices in a series of raids in Malaga, Madrid, and Cádiz. 

Police also recovered a series of weapons, including knives, a taser gun, and a fake pistol, as well as 5,800 euros in cash, and a drone.

Five expensive vehicles, a sailboat, and two yachts were also recovered. Police have not yet said who owned the flashy items. 

Investigators wrapped up the probe last week with the arrest of Benson and nine alleged accomplices in a series of raids in Malaga, Madrid, and Cádiz 

 

Police also recovered a series of weapons, including knives, a taser gun, and a fake pistol, as well as 5,800 euros in cash, and a drone

Benson served as an officer in the Royal Navy’s executive branch as a submariner from 1978 to 1985, according to his LinkedIn profile. 

It is understood he later moved to Spain where he served as the general manager of the Valderrama Golf Club and worked in real estate. 

In his most recent entry on blogspot, Benson said he had ’28 years experience as a real estate advisor in Sotogrande’ and offered to introduce buyers to ‘my small piece of paradise’. 

‘My activities have ranged from simply helping buyers choose their dream property, to project managing the design and construction of clients’ luxury private villas’, he wrote. 

Benson served as an officer in the Royal Navy’s executive branch as a submariner from 1978 to 1985 before moving to Cádiz, where he served as the general manager of the Valderrama Golf Club and worked in real estate

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