SPAIN/FRANCE (WJW) – Twenty-seven people were detained in Spain and France for illegal eel trafficking after more than 1.5 tons of live eels were recovered in an investigation, according to the Guardia Civil.

The multi-national criminal investigation raids were coordinated by Spain’s Guardia Civil, the French National Gendarmerie and Europol and the European Anti-Fraud Office. The investigation began in 2021, according to Spanish police.

Police searched 30 homes, businesses and “clandestine hatcheries” in Spain, France, Belgium and Poland as part of the investigation. 

“Several tons of frozen batches” of eels not suitable for the food chain were also recovered, as well as more than €2 million in assets, according to the Guardia Civil said.

The live eels are now set to be released, police said.