Costa del Sol reverts to Costa del violent gang warfare

Published:  8 Nov at 6 PM
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British expats living along Spain’s Costa del Sol coastline are now trapped in a gang warfare zone.

For decades, Spain’s most popular expat havens have also been known as boltholes for wanted criminals fleeing the UK police, with the region’s reputation often glamourised in films and TV series as a result. Over the past months, the grim underbelly of the beachside resorts has burst onto the streets in a fury of bombings, gangland-style executions and gruesome assassinations. As a result, expat business owners and retirees in the region are living in terror.

Benidorm, Marbella, Malaga and Estepona have been hit hardest by the rising wave of ultra-violent crime, with police believing gangs from no less than 13 countries are now embroiled in drug-related conflict. Columbian drug cartels, a branch of the Russian mafia and ex-military from Albania are feared to be operating along the coast as well as fighting each other for supremacy. Also involved are local gangs angry at their turf being taken over by foreigners, and the southern Spanish coastline is now Europe and the world’s superhighway for drug smuggling and dealing.

British expats are fearing for their lives and telling reporters their former retirement havens now resemble America’s Wild West. Tourists are faced with violent incidents, and several have actually been shot, while students and local international schools are being provided with bodyguards against the risk of kidnapping and local communities are engaging private security. One British expat was enjoying her birthday dinner with her boyfriend at an Estepona restaurant when another diner was shot and kidnapped in full view of everyone. His body was found later, covered with stab wounds and left in a wheelbarrow.
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