Sant Miquel de Fluvià, a tiny municipality in the Catalan province of Girona, has a population of 800 – not enough to justify constant electricity cuts due to power surges. This outwardly sleepy hamlet has just become the scene of a drugs raid conducted jointly by Spain’s police and tax authorities.
The investigation has revealed that the recurring power cuts were being caused by several homes with intensive marijuana growing operations. The family clan in charge of the scheme had enforced a law of silence among the local residents.
The drug was meant for distribution in Catalonia and southern France.
Ten individuals were arrested and charged with trafficking the marijuana they were growing. Officers dismantled 10 plantations with 1,642 plants in them.
Six of the grow operations were located in Sant Miquel and controlled by one family, which had bought several detached homes near their own headquarters. The members of this group had guard dogs, security guards and other measures in place, and “they exerted strong pressure on the residents of the town to ensure they would not testify against them,” said a note released by the National Police and the Tax Agency.
Indoor grow operations require artificial lighting, constant temperatures and ventilation, causing high electricity bills
Indoor grow operations require artificial lighting, constant temperatures and ventilation, all of which makes electricity consumption shoot up. Another typical sign that investigators look for is electricity theft from the general grid, as was the case here.
“Refrigeration and lighting equipment consumption was so high that power cuts were habitual in Sant Miquel de Fluvià,” reads the press release.
The police also confiscated €8,200, a handgun and two revolvers.
English version by Susana Urra.