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40 Individuals Arrested in Spain for Organized Crime Gang Involvement

On January 13th, 2021, the National Police of Spain announced that they had arrested 40 individuals for their alleged involvement in an organized crime gang called Trinitarians. The Trinitarians are believed to have defrauded more than 300,000 victims, resulting in losses of over €700,000. The arrested individuals include two hackers who carried out bank scams through phishing and smishing techniques and 15 other members of the crime syndicate. All of those apprehended have been charged with a number of offenses such as bank fraud, forging documents, identity theft, and money laundering. According to officials, "The criminal organization used hacking tools and business logistics to carry out computer scams." To pull off the attacks, the cybercriminals sent bogus links via SMS that, when clicked, redirected users to a phishing panel masquerading as a legitimate financial institution. This allowed the Trinitarians to steal their credentials and abuse the access to request for loans and link the cards to cryptocurrency wallets under their control. These SMS messages sought to induce a false sense of urgency and increase the actors' chance of success by urging the recipients to click on the accompanying link in order to resolve a purported security issue with their bank accounts. The stolen cards were used to purchase digital assets, which were then cashed out to fund the group's operations. These operations included paying legal fees, sending money to members in prison, and the purchase of narcotics and weapons. The National Police of Spain have stated that this is an ongoing investigation and more arrests are expected to be made.


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