The Spanish judicial and law enforcement authorities including the National Police and Civil Guard, have joined an international operation with eight other country’s including the United States’ FBI to smash an international cocaine-trafficking and money-laundering network leading to the arrest of at least 45 people.
The police said the operation had “flooded Europe with cocaine,” and arrests have been made in Spain, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Croatia and the United Kingdom.
A joint operation was set up between Spain and Belgium, under the coordination of the Eurojust agency to enable rapid cooperation between the judicial authorities involved while Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency, organized exchanges of information and evidence to prepare for the final phase of the four-year investigation.
The Spanish Civil Guard said it had arrested eight people in Mallorca and Barcelona.
Thirty people have been detained in Belgium, two in Croatia and two in the Netherlands.
“Investigations in Spain started in 2018, with the arrest of a high-ranking member of the organized crime group, who is currently in pre-trial detention. In addition, an Operation Taskforce (OTF) was set up at Europol to pool investigative resources and expertise and develop the investigation internationally,” Europol said on its website.
While the organization’s ‘complex corporate structure’ was “based in Mallorca,” it also reportedly had similar operations set up in Germany and Croatia, the police said.
The organization’s members frequently traveled to Dubai amongst other destinations to “to organize their illicit businesses, using encrypted communication tools to coordinate their criminal activities.”