A Spanish led police operation has takendown a network of corrupt officials – including police and customs officers across Europe who had been helping ship cocaine and hashish into Europe.
Working with the support of Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre, the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) and National Police (Policía Nacional) have dismantled a drugs trafficking network which allegedly relied on corrupt law enforcement and customs officers to ship hundreds of millions of euros’ worth of cocaine and hashish into Western Europe.
A total of 61 individuals were arrested in the operation including five officers from the Civil Guard, one from the National Police and one from customs, who were identified thanks to the collaboration with European law enforcement agencies.
These arrests follow an 18-month long investigation into two criminal gangs, known as ‘Clan de Tanger’ and ‘Clan del Sur’, who are believed to have smuggled over 16 tonnes of cocaine and 150 tonnes of hashish via the Strait of Gibraltar into Spain for further distribution across Europe.
The drugs were hidden among shipments of tomatoes, watermelons and melons. The criminal group dismantled is considered to be the most active network operating around the Port of Algeciras. The corrupt law enforcement and customs officers were paid by the criminal organisation to make sure that the drugs were not intercepted as they were smuggled in the Spanish port of Algeciras.
The Spanish authorities conducted 34 raids which led to the arrests of 61 individuals, including 7 under European Arrest Warrants issued by other countries and the seizure of 26 properties valued at over EUR 3 million as well as over 1 million Euros in cash and an astonishing 83 tonnes of hashish and 9 tonnes of cocaine.