Inside Tenerife’s dark underbelly with Brit and mafia drug dealers locked in bitter turf war amid Jay Slater mystery

Inside Tenerife’s dark underbelly with Brit and mafia drug dealers locked in bitter turf war amid Jay Slater mystery
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TENERIFE has been stuck in a bitter turf war between British drug gangs and the feared Italian mafia over the past few years.

The holiday hostpot is known for its dark criminal underbelly as a battle for narcotics rages on amid the continuing mystery over Jay Slater‘s disappearance from the island.

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Tenerife is known for its dark criminal underbelly as a battle for narcotics rages on[/caption]

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The holiday hotspot has been embroiled in a fight for territory between the Italian mafia and English drug gangs in recent years – leaving the streets trashed[/caption]

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The mystery over Jay Slater’s disappearance from the island has entered its third week[/caption]

Thousands of Brits flock to Tenerife each summer to enjoy the sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife and cheap alcohol all on offer in several of the island’s top resorts.

But along with the blaring music and the sound of boozy tourists a much more sinister world exists – fuelled by a fight for drugs.

An intense and brutal battle to control the island’s main trade points in Costa Adeje and in Playa de las Americas has been plagued by drug carnage for years.

Jay was last seen partying in Playa de las Americas just hours before he vanished three weeks ago today.

There is no suggestion that Jay’s disappearance is linked to drugs with cops in Tenerife finding no link to criminality in the case.

Many questions still remain over what happened to 19-year-old Brit.

Italy has a chilling history with the dark world of selling drugs with them taking over many European spots with their aggression and tactical battles.

Notorious gangs like the Mafia, Camorra, and Ndrangheta managed to grasp a hold of the Canary Islands with Tenerife being regarded as a must-have location for the piles of curious tourists.

Europol released a frightening statement on the ruthless Ndrangheta gangsters saying they routinely use “violence and torture” on their rivals.

It added: “The criminal gang is believed to have played an active role in cocaine and cannabis trafficking in between Spain and Italy, using vehicles equipped with hidden compartments and speedboats to transport the drugs.”


Said to rake up tens of billions each year, organised crime expert Professor Anna Sergi also described them as one of the most powerful organised crime groups in the world.

The Canaries is an ideal place for the Italian thugs to complete their trades from Latin America, gang experts told MailOnline.

With the organised crime units teaming up with local criminals to bring in narcotics such as cocaine with relative ease.

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Major drug deals take place in secrecy among the drug kingpins on the island but finding illegal pills, strips or powders is seen as all too easy for an ordinary tourist.

It’s getting really tribal and it’s not the sort of place you want to hang around too long in at night


Tenerife expat

Walking across any of the bustling strips in Tenerife after dark makes stumbling across some lethal street concoctions a worrying breeze.

Low level street dealers are frequently showing off pouches full of what they say is MDMA, ketamine or cocaine to already hazy travellers.

The typically young dealers are often under the spell of a greater evil pushing them into peddling out the deadly batches.

Recently, Italian mobsters have been challenged for the drug throne in Tenerife, say reports.

British gangs from areas such as London, Manchester and Liverpool have all started to flood the streets trying to undercut the Italians.

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The streets of Tenerife are often left covered in smashed bottles, empty drug paraphernalia and litter after boozy nights out[/caption]

Convicted drug dealer Ayub Qassim was one of the last people to be seen with Jay before he vanished
Jay at a rave in Tenerife before he vanished
Ian Whittaker

An expat source on the island told MailOnline the streets would turn into a “jungle” late at night.

They continued: “The big players are still the Italians when it comes to organised crime and money laundering but now others are moving in and there are a lot of British gangs, mainly from London, Liverpool and Manchester.

“They know it makes sense as most of the holidaymakers are from Britain so they can home in on them and it’s a nice easy transaction and it makes them a lot of money.

“It’s getting really tribal and it’s not the sort of place you want to hang around too long in at night.”

After the last few years, a number of suspected drug dealers and gangs have been busted in the Canary Islands.

A clan member from the Mazzarella gang was arrested in Gran Canaria.

As eight Mafia gangsters and a Colombian cartel boss, were seen being hauled away by Tenerife cops in handcuffs in December.

The mysterious case of Jay Slater

Former detective Mark Williams-Thomas, who is working with Jay’s family in Tenerife, has already suggested the teen’s disappearance could have links to an “established criminal network”.

He said: “As part of this investigation we have sought to speak with all of the people Jay had contact with whilst in Tenerife.

“The result of this digging has opened up an established criminal network with links to drugs, violent crime and theft.

“At this stage I cannot expand any further on what we now know.

“I’m unable to say if this network has anything to do with Jay’s disappearance but remain open-minded as we continue to investigate.”

It comes as convicted drug dealer Ayub Qassim was one of the final people to see Jay after the pair stayed the night at an Airbnb together before the teen walked off alone and vanished.

The Sun revealed Ayub, 31, rented the £40-a-night holiday let under a different surname with a third unnamed friend.

Ayub, who was jailed for nine years in 2015, previously insisted: “Jay came to the house alive, and he left the house alive.”

He has also said he has “nothing to hide” as he slammed Facebook detectives for screenshotting his Instagram.

The Sun previously revealed Ayub’s connection to a legal cannabis cafe in Tenerife owned by his childhood friend and acclaimed drill rapper Potter Payper.

Spanish cops have spoken to both of the men already and cleared them to return to the UK – dubbing them “irrelevant” to the investigation.

But there have been calls for police to speak to them again amid the ongoing mystery of Jay’s disappearance.

Jay’s uncle Glen said he was left “baffled” by the police’s decision.

The mysterious case of Jay Slater, three weeks on

By Ellie Doughty, Foreign News Reporter

Monday July 8 marks three weeks since Jay Slater, a 19-year-old from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, vanished in Tenerife.

The apprentice bricklayer, who flew out to the popular holiday island for a rave festival with friends Lucy Law and Brad Page, has made headlines around the country.

On Sunday June 16 the three of them headed off to one of the events at Papagayo nightclub.

In the early hours of Monday 17 – Lucy and Brad were ready to head back to their hotel, but Jay wanted to keep partying.

It was then that he left the south of the island and headed to an Airbnb in the northwest with two British men.

The Sun revealed the identity of one of them – convicted drug dealer Ayub Qassim, who spent nine years behind bars in the UK.

For days it was thought that the second mystery man went by the name ‘Johnny Vegas’.

On Sunday former detective Mark Williams-Thomas, who is out in Tenerife investigating, said Qassim told him he is in fact the man behind the nickname ‘Johnny Vegas’.

We don’t yet know the identity of the second man – who remains a key part of the puzzle in Jay’s mysterious disappearance.

Qassim claims he drove Jay and the friend back to their accommodation and said they all went to sleep.

In the morning he offered to drive the teen back to the Los Cristianos resort after a nap, but Jay, hungry and tired, said he wanted to leave immediately.

Lucy, the last person to speak to Jay, claims she had a panicked call from him soon after he left the holiday let, telling her he was lost and thirsty, his phone was about to die and that he’d been cut by a cactus.

Jay had been seen by the owner of the Airbnb that morning wandering around near the Rural de Teno park – a mountainous region close-by.

He is believed to have been attempting the 11-hour trek back to his hotel, despite the alleged offer of a lift and more buses scheduled for the day.

It was there that his phone last pinged – and he hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Mark Williams-Thomas has claimed he left the Airbnb quickly, and was “scared”.

Bizarrely, Qassim says he was woken up that morning by a phone call from an unnamed friend of Jay, saying he was “in a ditch” somewhere and had been “cut by a cactus”.

Jay’s friend Lucy claimed to have “tracked down” the two men in the Airbnb after he vanished – quizzing them on the morning of Jay’s disappearance.

Some reports have suggested Lucy knew the two men, although it is not clear how.

She has dubbed his disappearance “weird and suspicious”.

Both men were questioned by Spanish cops on June 17 but quickly deemed “irrelevant” to the investigation and cleared to fly back to the UK.

Police spent almost two weeks searching for Jay in the Tenerife mountains, scouring a 2,000ft ravine, before calling it off on Sunday June 30.

Jay’s family have repeatedly slammed the Spanish investigation into his bizarre disappearance.

His uncle, Glen Duncan, is convinced of “third party involvement”.

And the teen’s devastated dad, Warren Slater, says “everything stinks”

He told The Sun: “My starting position, I’ve said this from day one, ask the two men who’ve taken him – and then start from there.”

A number of unanswered questions remain, over why Jay would have travelled so far with two older men he didn’t know, why said men would have taken him in, and why he braved the Tenerife mountains with no phone battery, water or heat protection for a day-long walk

Ayub is friends with drill rapper Potter Payper and is also involved in his legal cannabis cafe on the island

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