36 suspects, including 10 women, were tried for their direct involvement, in the explosions of 26 ATM boxes and by laundering the stolen money. The biggest gang ever brought to trial.

The sentence was delivered on Friday 7th June by the court of Setúbal, two and a half years after they were detained by the National Counterterrorism Unit of the PJ in November 2016. 17 convicts, 11 of whom were incarcerated.

The two ringleaders, who were already in custody, with six others, have since been sentenced to 15 years in prison each.  None had a criminal record until they entered this crime spiral.

The “bando” – as they were classified by the collective of judges of the tribunal of Setúbal, that absolved to them all of the accusation of “criminal association” – had tentacles in several counties of the zone of Greater Lisbon: there was the “Amadora group”, the “Cascais group”, the “group of Setúbal” and the “Group of the Eastern Zone of Lisbon”.

“That’s what we call a ‘carousel gang’, which uses different operations according to the zone where they want to operate,” explains one investigator who was involved in this process.

The judgment, to which the DN had access, has 535 pages and gives a detailed description of each of the assaults, the role of each, the income they have had and the damages they caused (for which they were also ordered to pay heavy damages, of more than 300 thousand euros).

At least 15 state-of-the-art cars, including BMW’s, Mercedes, Audis, and more than a dozen high-powered motorcycles were seized by the authorities in the possession of the main operating companies when the searches were made

The crime may have compensated over time – and was long, about 22 months – in which they managed to keep out of reach of the authorities.

The first ATM that exploded (at least, of which there is registration and evidence) was on September 30, 2014, in Queluz; the last one was on July 21, 2016, in Algés.

This “know-how” was nothing more, nothing less, than a course in Automotive Mechatronics that was given to Autoeuropa Training Academy . That is why, according to the judges, the preferred target of the gang was the “vehicle theft of the VAG Group, responsible for the production, marketing and assistance, mainly of the Audi brand; , Bora, Golf and Passat, Volkswagen brand “because” Tuga “knew a lot about” the functioning of its electronic and mechanical components. ”

From its “social report” the court withdrew “very positive elements in relation to its family structure with personal concerns at this level”. However, it is pointed out, it can not “be indifferent to the massive number of crimes committed over an excessive period of time as well as the presence of this defendant in concrete in almost all operations carried out.”