So far, 184 thefts have been linked to the suspects and 16 properties raided with numerous stolen items seized.
Operating in the provinces of Toledo and Guadalajara (Castilla-La Mancha), Zaragoza (Aragón), Segovia (Castilla y León), and Madrid, the group pillaged lorries parked in industrial estates and service stations – often stealing the entire vehicle, complete with its merchandise.
Several kilos of drugs, including cannabis and heroin, various firearms, 195 lottery décimos, 31 top-of-the-range TV sets and other electronics and domestic appliances, perfume, cosmetics, nearly €10,000 in cash and 11 cars and lorries have been confiscated.
A probe started in early 2015 after a lorry driver reported a burglary from inside his container, with computer equipment worth €150,000 stolen, at a service station in Almadrones (Guadalajara province).
The next two years brought a series of near-identical thefts across the north and centre of Spain.
Police suspected the burglars had been renting and buying cars in the names of third parties or family members, and that their racket had been ongoing for several years.
Where the complete lorry and its contents were stolen, the gang would drive it to its destination, dressed in reflective jackets to pass as delivery men.
They laundered their earnings by buying property, jewellery, lottery tickets and luxury cars, and blowing huge quantities in amusement arcades and casinos – often as much as €7,000 in one night.
Police discovered the accused parties did not have jobs or any other known professional activity and were claiming social welfare benefits, despite living a very lavish lifestyle.
They have not ruled out further arrests.