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Mirror July 2019

July 31, 2019

Dark side of Marbella exposed – with sex for €50 and cocaine at a moment’s notice

EXCLUSIVE: Mirror investigation on Costa del Sol uncovers the seedier side of glamorous resort – with sex on sale for €50

Tourists and party goers on a night out head for Calle del Infierno (Image: Mirrorpix)


Just yards from the sunbeds and trendy bars in the Costa del Sol’s most glamorous resort, a prostitute plies her trade.

This is just one of the unsavoury sights in a tourist hotspot where drugs and gang warfare are exposing British families to a murky world of danger.

This is Marbella – a haven for celebrities, and a top destination for Brits wanting to rub shoulders with the super-rich in the Spanish sun.

But behind the facade of super­yachts and fast cars, ruthless gangs linked to Russia, Morocco and Col­­ombia have moved in for a slice of its multi-million pound drugs trade.

Our investigators headed to the glitzy Puerto Banus marina, where owners of luxury yachts moor for €2,000 a day. Overlooking it are two vastly different worlds. 

Calle Ribera faces directly onto the ocean, with designer shops and trendy bars and restaurants that are packed out until the early hours.

A favourite haunt of celebrities since the 1960s, it is a firm favourite with the cast of TOWIE and is a great place to spot a footballer.

Even here, not everything is as it seems. A waitress from Scotland, working in a bar for the summer, told us: “It’s full of fakers, so many ten bob millionaires who pretend they’re rich for a week in the sun.

“But there’s a hell of a lot of real cash too, usually the quiet ones.”


Tourists and party goers in the Spanish harbour town of Puerto Banus on the Calle del Infierno (Image: Mirrorpix)

But less then 50 yards back from this strip lies an altogether more seedy one, known to the Spanish as Calle del Infierno – “Hell Street”. 

Within a minute of moving from one to the other, Mirror reporters were offered cocaine and sex.

A Romanian girl calling herself Lisa sidled up and offered sex for €150 in a nearby apartment block.

“Come on, honey,” she urged. “I don’t have all night. I’m very popular but there’s lots of us to choose from.”

In the course of the evening we counted at least 40 young women walking up and down, approaching any man who made even the slightest eye contact.

The drug dealers too operate in a similar way – all within full view of the police, who did not seem to bat an eyelid.

Offering a gramme of cocaine for €70, dealers assured us they could get any other drug within moments.

Much of the action appeared to centre on infamous nightclub The Navy Bar. Once inside, it quickly becomes apparent it is a magnet for prostitutes looking for rich visitors.

Within seconds, the Mirror reporters were swamped by women openly offering sexual services, from as little as €50 up to €300.

One told us: “This is just the day job. There are so many men with money here, why wouldn’t we come out to play? Once we leave here we’ll just go on the streets – they’re everywhere. This is Marbella, baby.”

More worrying, though, is the rise of gangs that has seen an escalation in violence and a spate of murders.

The 15 killings in the Malaga region in the last 10 months is almost double what it was in 2017. Seven of those were in Marbella – and all linked to organised crime.


Jason Coghlan, who runs law firm JaCogLaw, explained the drugs trade feeds the violence (Image: Stan Kujawa)


Jason Coghlan, a “fixer” who runs law firm JaCogLaw, explained the drugs trade feeds the violence.

Jason, 50, whose firm advises expats in trouble with the authorities, told The Mirror: “Do you think gangsters care when they’re using machine guns that they’re not even trained to do so? Course they don’t.

“The point is tourists could get caught in the crossfire – it happens. People start letting shots off and people get caught in the midst.”

A former bank robber who has been visiting the Costa Del Sol for more than 30 years, Jason knows the local crime scene intimately.

He told us: “There’s not just one gang war, there are multiple gang wars all going on at the same time.

“When I was a bank robber I’d come here because we could spend our money. Now it’s all narcotics.

“We’re just 12 miles from Africa, where it all comes from. Everyone wants their noses in the trough.”