Authorities Arrest International Arms Smugglers In Barcelona

Two suspected members of a criminal gang who smuggled weapons to other criminal organisations across the world have been arrested in Spain.

The Spanish authorities were tipped off about the whereabouts of the two men by the European police agency, Europol.

Spanish National Police and Regional Catalan Police (Mossos d’Esquadra) raided the homes of the two suspects in Barcelona and El Masnou in Catalunya on 20 April, where they were apprehended.

Seven other members of the same criminal organisation had been previously arrested in an operation in November 2020.

It is believed that the evidence gathered during the 2020 operation was crucial in leading to the identification of the suspects arrested in the province of Barcelona this week.

The criminal syndicate, operating mostly from Spain, had been under investigation since 2018.

They illegally transported weapons and explosives across the Mediterranean to conflict zones subject to international embargoes in North Africa and the Middle East.

Their illegal cargo included heavy armaments, such as tanks, and explosive precursors used by terrorists to manufacture improvised explosive devices.

The criminal proceeds were then laundered through different international front companies before being sent to Spain where the criminals invested in real estate and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle.

The operation was conducted in close cooperation with Europol’s European Serious Organised Crime Centre, which provided continuous intelligence development and analysis to support the Spanish investigators, including the deployment of a team to Barcelona.

The evidence seized is now being evaluated to identify further investigative leads across Europe.