International cooperation results in dismantling of organised crime group which carried out drug trafficking and money laundering. The criminal network allegedly smuggled tonnes of hashish and cocaine from Morocco to Spain.
The Spanish Guardia Civil, The Belgian Federal Police (Police Fédérale/Federale Politie) and the French Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale), supported by Europol, successfully dismantled an organised crime group involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.
During the 14th and 15th December, the forces’ action resulted in:
- 6 house searches ( Barcelona, Cadiz and Galicia)
- 17 individuals arrested (11 Spanish and 6 Moroccan nationals)
- The leader of the criminal network among the suspects arrested
- Large seizures worth more than €6 million including:
- 10 luxury watches worth about €2.1 million,
- 8 real estate properties worth about €1.9 million,
- more than €1 million in cash,
- 26 cars worth about €1 million,
- 1 vessel valued at approximately €100 000,
- 760 lottery tickets with a value of €15 200,
- a banknote counter,
- a large number of smartphones and electronic equipment,
- 33 bank accounts.
Large-scale drug trafficking via the African route
The criminal organisation carried out large-scale drug trafficking. Mainly cocaine and hashish, the drugs arrived in southern Spain via speedboats. Two seizures made earlier this year, consisting of 4,300 kg hashish and 1,300 kg cocaine respectively, are connected to this criminal organisation.
Furthermore, two of the 17 arrested on 14th and 15th December had an international arrest warrant against them in connection to a seizure of 1,004 kg cocaine made in 2018 in Morocco.
The alleged leader of the organisation is believed to be one of the major importers of cocaine and hashish from Morocco to the Iberian Peninsula. Spanish Civil Guard officers arrested him while he was coordinating a number of seaborne drug trafficking operations.
Using legal businesses to launder drug money
The organised crime group also created and misused a large network of companies, including several cash-intensive businesses such as two restaurants in Barcelona. These businesses served to launder the drug-trafficking proceeds.
The suspects also used cash to cover costs related to facilitating their drug trafficking activities and buying the required equipment, such as cars and vessels.