The gang would pick up hashish from Morocco, transporting up to three tonnes of drugs at a time to other trafficking ships between Spain and Morocco.

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Commenting on the operation, the Spanish Guardia Civil said that their offshore base was a 'drug and fuel maritime daycare',, to store the hashish and sustain their boats.

The islands are part of Spain's holdings along the Moroccan coast. Of the Chafarinas Islands, only one, the Isla Isabel II, has a constant population.