Dangerous gang released by court

A dangerous gang believed to be responsible for a series of violent crimes across the Algarve was finally caught following a six-month investigation by the GNR, but surprisingly released by the Albufeira court, according to information from the Comando Territorial de Faro.

The four men, aged between 25 and 26, are suspected of carrying out more than a dozen robberies including carjackings, one of which ironically involved a prosecutor’s car from the Public Prosecutor’s office.

A total of 70 officers were involved in the mega operation conducted by the GNR and its criminal investigation unit (Núcleo de Investigação Criminal) in Albufeira.

In a search of four houses, a shop and four vehicles, they found a sawn-off shotgun, ammunition, an air pistol, €6,000 in cash and a small quantity of hashish.

The investigation was triggered by the theft of a large amount of money from a residence.

The gang has been described as well-organised, frequently using face-masks and gloves to avoid leaving evidence.

They used the prosecutor’s vehicle in the carjacking of a Mercedes next to a supermarket in Praia da Galé and in an armed raid on a Quarteira restaurant where one of the gang members was caught by the GNR.

A report in Correio de Manhã newspaper said that, in court, the case was not heard by a judge (Juíz de Instrução Criminal) or a public prosecutor but by judiciary officials (funcionários judiciais).

The Algarve Resident contacted the Albufeira court which refused to make any official statement regarding the subject. The GNR Comando Territorial de Faro was also contacted but refused to comment on the court’s decision.