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The Civil Guard dismantled a criminal group dedicated to the distribution of fertilizers that damaged the irrigation systems (27/03/2019)

So far, seven criminal acts have been clarified

Six tons of fertilizer have been immobilized

The Civil Guard of the Region of Murcia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Water, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Autonomous Region of Murcia (CARM), has developed the operation 'Humicus' which has allowed to uncover a fraud related to the commercialization of fertilizers without the corresponding labeling and which has been settled, up to now, with the investigation of four people, who have been instructed to act as alleged perpetrators of the crimes of fraud and damages.

The team ROCA (against thefts in the field) of the Benemérita began the operation to investigate the remarkable increase of cases of damages in agricultural exploitations of Cieza, Fortuna and Alfarrás (Lérida).

The owners reported being victims of the crimes of fraud and damages.

These seven farmers reported having purchased a fertilizer product, which, after being used, caused considerable damage to their drip irrigation facilities.

The damages consisted in the clogging of the drippers and the filters of their irrigation systems, a situation that has forced them to have to replace all the damaged elements.

The farmers themselves, believing that the damage could have been caused by the fertilizer commonly used by all, tested the product by applying reagents, but no reaction was obtained.

At the same time, they decided to analyze the product in a specialized laboratory, the result of which was that the composition of the product used and suspected of causing the damage was much less rich than indicated in its labeling.

Once determined that the cause of the damage was the fertilizer, the first inquiries were directed to locate the warehouse that distributed the product, managing to locate an industrial building without signs or badges in a very discreet area of ​​Lorquí.

The civil guards then established a series of discreet surveillance of the warehouse, in which no activity was observed, no movement of people or vehicles, nothing that made one suspect that there was any commercial activity inside.

Collaboration with CARM inspectors

In one of these vigilances it was observed that a person accessed the interior of the ship, so the civil guards of the ROCA Team, assisted by an inspector of the Industrial Service, Agrifood Promotion of the General Directorate of Innovation, Production and Agrifood Industry of the Region of Murcia, made an inspection in it.

During the inspection, a large amount of fertilizer and other products were found without labeling or any indication of its origin, observing among these products a large amount of fertilizer equal to that used by the complaining farmers and supposedly causing the damage.

It was also found that there were three companies related to the distribution of stored products and that most of them came from an Asian country.

Inside the store were located 5,972 kilos of fertilizer product of identical characteristics and packaging than that indicated by the complainants and causing the alleged damage.

This product lacked the corresponding labeling indicating the place of origin and composition thereof.

The agents took samples of the product for further analysis, remaining immobilized until the results of the analyzes were obtained.

It was found that the batch number of the immobilized fertilizer from Asia was being marketed with a totally different lot number.

Likewise, two other products that were ready for distribution and sale were immobilized.

It consisted of 599 containers of 1 liter of a repellent product of insects and mammals, as well as 732 containers of 1 liter of a product to keep birds away from the crops.

In the framework of the operation, the Civil Guard has investigated four people, who allegedly used a network of companies for the purchase and distribution of fertilizer products from Asia, whose composition announced in the labeling was higher than the actual product .

The four investigated have been instructed diligences as alleged perpetrators of the crimes of fraud and damages.

Those investigated, the effects seized and the proceedings conducted have been made available to the Court of Instruction of Cieza (Murcia).

Source: Ministerio del Interior

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