Thu. Jul 25th, 2024
alert-–-the-darker-side-of-tenerife:-how-popular-spanish-holiday-island-has-shady-criminal-underworld-with-ruthless-british-drug-dealers-battling-italian-mafia-for-control-of-the-drugs-trade-–-as-search-for-jay-slater-continuesAlert – The darker side of Tenerife: How popular Spanish holiday island has shady criminal underworld with ruthless British drug dealers battling Italian mafia for control of the drugs trade – as search for Jay Slater continues

Ruthless British drug dealers are fighting with the Italian mafia for control of the drugs trade in Tenerife where Jay Slater vanished three weeks ago, can reveal.

With no sign of Jay since he disappeared in the early hours of June 17 after a three -day music festival, there are fears that he has somehow been sucked into the holiday island’s murky underground world.

Every summer thousands of British tourists – mainly youngsters – head to the sunshine island to celebrate the end of their exams, drawn by a magnet of sandy beaches, vibrant nightclubs, cheap alcohol and even cheaper drugs.

But beneath that seemingly innocent party scene, there is a bitter fight for control of the islands’ lucrative drug trade with criminal gangs from Italy and the UK battling for supremacy in the supply of drugs in Costa Adeje and in Playa de las Americas where Jay was last seen hours before he vanished.

Italian crime gangs from notorious syndicates like the Mafia, Camorra, and Ndrangheta have long controlled the island’s lucrative narcotics trade.

Gang experts have said in the past Italian organised crime groups are increasingly working with local criminals to bring cocaine into Europe from Latin America – often using the Canary Islands as a staging post of illegal shipments.

A Europol statement said these ‘Ndrangheta gangsters would routinely use ‘violence and torture’ to intimidate their rivals.

A trip along the hedonistic seafront Veronicas Strip in the popular party resort of Playa de las Americas throws you into a world of pubs, nightclub and cannabis bars – with street dealers pushing MDMA, ketamine, cocaine and who knows what, thrown in for good measure.

Dipping into their bum bags, the mainly young dealers who have been recruited by the Mr Bigs, pull out wraps of powder and pills and the street is littered with little plastic bags.

Gangs from London, Manchester and Liverpool have begun muscling in on the patch long held by Italian crime gangs – who are now turning increasingly to property and construction to launder their money – and it is now known that Jay, 19, spent his time in the company of convicted drug dealer Ayub Qassim.

An expat source on the island said: ‘The big players are still the Italians when it comes to organised crime and money laundering but now others are moving in and there are a lot of British gangs, mainly from London, Liverpool and Manchester.

‘They know it makes sense as most of the holidaymakers are from Britain so they can home in on them and it’s a nice easy transaction and it makes them a lot of money.

‘It’s getting really tribal on Veronicas and it’s not the sort of place you want to hang around too long in at night, I won’t let my daughter go there because it’s a jungle.’

Organised crime expert Professor Anna Sergi says the feared ‘Ndrangheta, said to be considered one of the most powerful organised crime groups in the world, is the main Mafia-type crime organisation operating in Southern Spain.

The group tends to keep a lower profile than other Mafia-type organisations but it’s hugely successful.

They reportedly made €53billion profit in 2013 alone. Spain’s Balearic Islands are well known for drug trafficking – a senior member of the De Micco clan was recently caught running drugs into Ibiza.

But anywhere that tourists gather is a prime target for drug dealers: a member of the clan Mazzarella (from San Giovanni a Teduccio, Naples) was recently arrested on drugs offences in Gran Canaria.

Eight Mafia gangsters, as well as a Colombian cartel boss, were arrested in a major operation on Tenerife in December.

An armed police raid on a Tenerife villa uncovered some 950 kilos of uncut cocaine, as well as a stash of weapons and €12,000 in cash.

In Tenerife one of the last men to see Jay before he vanished was Ayub Qassim, 31, who drove the 19-year-old back to his Airbnb in the early hours of June 17.

Qassim was jailed for nine years in 2015 for being the mastermind of an attempt to flood Wales with Class A drugs.

A close friend of Qassim is Jamel Bousbaa, a drill rapper who goes by the name Potter Payper.

Bousbaa himself was sentenced to five years in 2018 for running his own county lines drug dealing network from east London – the area where he and Qassim grew up.

He was involved in what Ipswich Crown Court was told was the ‘Frankie Line’ which saw heroin and crack cocaine leave London and distributed throughout Clacton, Essex.

Four years ago he was released. He now runs a popular cannabis store in Playa de las Americas called Potters Garden, which sells multiple types of marijuana.

When the found the club, two British men approached and asked: ‘What do you need?’ before reeling off a shopping list of drugs.

Not everyone in Tenerife is so happy with his success.

A video posted online in May shows Potters Garden being broken into by a rival gang and Bousbaa’s awards are ripped off the walls and windows smashed.

The clip shows an intruder in the café smashing up the venue and saying: ‘We are live. We’ve got your f****** plaques, p****.’

Then the camera pans to show the a cabinet of mobile telephones and drug paraphernalia with the male voice adding: ‘Yah, yah, take all the pre rolls, take all the f****** weed as well.

‘I’m taking the PS5 as well you p****, thought you could do bad boy?’ My show man, live, live.’

The club is less than ten minutes’ walk from Papagayo, the nightclub where Jay was last pictured in a trance like state and from where he left with Qassim and another man who has not been identified.

There is no suggestion that the men are involved in Jay’s disappearance and Spanish police have deemed them as ‘irrelevant’ – but there is undoubtedly a drugs element to the mystery.

Cannabis possession for personal use is legal via a loophole in Canary Islands law and that has led to the springing up of dozens of cannabis cafes in Tenerife with British users flocking there.

Spanish law allows the cultivation and consumption of cannabis for personal use however it is illegal to sell or traffic cannabis in public places, but cafes allow ‘members’ to smoke there.

Users have to pay a ‘membership fee’ usually round 20 Euros which is used to grow cannabis and there they can buy and smoke cannabis and alcohol is strictly banned.

To keep it all above board sales are done via an App – which is preloaded with credit – and users have to spent at least 20 minutes inside on each visit.

A website helpfully called WeedTenerife highlight’s the best clubs on the island.

What happened to Jay three weeks ago remains a mystery.

But Jay’s family believe ‘drugs are a worrying aspect’ of the affair – and his case highlights the darker side of the island’s nightlife.

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