Gang arrested over illicit operation which made smoked salmon from dead fish destined for disposal facilities

Police say that trucks filled with morts were intercepted, with produce then sold on to local markets.

BioBio Chile reports that a large police operation comprised of 130 detectives has put the brakes on an alleged salmon scam in the heart of Chile’s major fish farming region.

The criminal gang is accused of commercialising salmon mortality in the Los Lagos region. 23 have been arrested on the charges of illicit association and money laundering as well as other crimes.

Trucks would leave salmon farms in and around the area with dead fish destined for fishmeal disposal facilities. But instead, the vehicles were intercepted, diverted and transferred to a site place where the salmon was filleted and smoked. The fish ended up in local market stalls.

Police said that the criminal group had been operating for four years and that explained that the organisation had a high purchasing power, enough to recruit transporters.

“It has been under investigation for seven months and it stems from the different complaints that are made,” said the regional head of the Los Lagos Police Force Gaston Herrera.

17 high-end vehicles, weapons, a trailer, a motor home, large-tonnage trucks, expensive clothes, technological devices, as well as cash and bank documentation were seized.

650 kilos of salmon, 117 kilos of smoked salmon, 44 kilos of frozen salmon were also taken by police.

The accused will be appearing in court on Friday.