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Drug gangs seek revenge after Instagram user publishes compromising photos

The authorities believe the account, which featured pictures of the traffickers’ partying and girlfriends, was set up in an act of revenge due to an apparent non-payment of jobs

One of the photos published on the @cotilleolalinea Instagram account.
One of the photos published on the @cotilleolalinea Instagram account.

Faces, nicknames, parties in Ibiza, lovers, threesomes and the indulging of many more of the basest human desires. That was the subject matter of the pictures shared last week by an anonymous Instagram account. The images were not their own, but rather detailed the excesses of the drug clans operating in the southern Spanish area of Campo de Gibraltar, in Andalusia.

With the username @cotilleolalinea (or, gossip from La Linea, a city in the area), the account posted pictures of some of the best-known local drug dealers, presumably, police say, motivated by revenge. The user behind the account received all kinds of threats after the posts appeared, until it was eventually deleted. The publication of the images has caused great concern among the criminals themselves.

The account first appeared on Wednesday night of last week, and remained active until the early hours of Friday morning. In that time, it published more than 20 photos and “stories” – temporary publications that are popular on Instagram – all of which revealed details of the comings and goings of the drug bosses, as well as their partners and alleged lovers.

The more than 20 photos and “stories” revealed details of the comings and goings of the drug bosses, as well as their partners and alleged lovers

Each of the messages was accompanied by insults, as well as encouragement for more people to follow the account. “If we reach 200 I’ll publish more,” one message read. Sure enough, soon there were 700 people following this live feed of drug-dealer gossip. “The patriarch and his women! He leaves his wife and children at home and goes off with his lover who is pregnant, then takes advantage of the pregnancy to go and celebrate it with the third in this combo in Ibiza [sic],” reads one of the captions under a photo of an alleged drug trafficker.

The man in question is known to the police, after taking part in February in an assault on La Línea hospital to free a patient – a member of the drug gang – from police custody. A month after that incident, he was arrested along with his brother while carrying €200,000 in cash.

More of the photos shared via the account.
More of the photos shared via the account.

Many of the photos published on the Instagram account showed the traffickers at parties and accompanied by naked women, who the captions stated were prostitutes. Others showed images of women who were identified as the lovers of the gang members.

“This is a reprisal for not having paid for 30 jobs from this year and eight from last year,” explained an anonymous police source about the posts. “They went to Ibiza owing money to people, and spent more than a million euros.”

If they find him, he and his family will have to leave La Línea

Civil Guard officer

Messages posted on the photos themselves also backed up this theory. “Put that they are thieves who don’t pay. They go to Ibiza with their people’s money,” one Instagram user wrote.

In response, the men featured in the pictures are trying to find the informer, and are doing so by examining their followers on social networks. They’ve promised a reward in exchange for a name, and have vowed there will be punishment.

“If they find him, he and his family will have to leave La Línea,” says one Civil Guard officer in the area. Since the account was closed, screenshots have been circulating from cellphone to cellphone.

“The women that are in the photos are their sweethearts, not their wives,” says the same civil guard. “The wives knew all about it, but now it’s public knowledge too.”

Speaking to sources close to the traffickers, the civil guard says that he suspects that a third person may have been involved, someone who wrote the captions, which are full of insults and spelling mistakes. “Whoever did it is one of them, because he has all their profiles and knew all the details,” says the officer. “He was very deep inside the organization.”

Whoever did it is one of them because he has all their profiles and knew all the details

Civil Guard officer

If a name comes up, the civil guard says, it could end up in a “beating,” “and he would have to leave [the area].” It is unlikely to go further. “These people aren’t murderers,” says another source.

What’s clear is that, while the people who appear in the images are not planning on reporting what has happened to the police, the betrayal could cost them more than just their honor. “The profile provided a lot of information about investigations that have been open for some time,” explains the civil guard. And they all know it. “They’re scared, because the habits they had of sharing their lives on Facebook and Instagram means that they are extremely visible.”

English version by Simon Hunter.

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