EU-funded operations lead to 197 arrests in Spain: A major blow to criminal networks

by Lorraine Williamson
criminal networks

In a significant victory for European security, Europol recently supported 29 investigations conducted by the Spanish National Police. These investigations have resulted in the arrests of 197 individuals involved in criminal networks.

Co-funded by the European Union,the operations targeted a wide range of criminal activities. These included drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, and corruption. The collaborative efforts between Spain, other EU Member States, and non-EU countries demonstrated a united front against organised crime.

Cracking down on major criminal threats

The 29 investigations, carried out in cooperation with other EU Member States and international partners, were strategically designed to tackle criminal networks that posed a significant threat to the European Union’s security. Moreover, these criminal enterprises often employed corruption, violence, and firearms in their activities. They also had the capacity to import large quantities of drugs into EU territories. Furthermore, Europol played a vital role in facilitating information exchange between law enforcement agencies. Thus providing operational coordination, and offering analytical support during the operations.

Key achievements of the operations

The joint efforts of Europol and the Spanish National Police led to remarkable achievements in the fight against organed crime. These operations resulted in:


A total of 197 individuals from 34 different nationalities were arrested. Among them were 33 fugitives who had been evading justice, and six high-ranking members of criminal networks.


Law enforcement agencies carried out 114 house searches, leading to significant seizures, including;

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  • nearly 5 tonnes of cocaine
  • over 3 tonnes of cannabis
  • 1.7 tonnes of heroin
  • 53 kilograms of synthetic drugs
  • 28 firearm
  • 57 vehicles
  • over €4 million in cash

Additionally, properties with an estimated value of approximately €12 million and close to €10 million in frozen bank accounts were also seized.

Impact on EU Security:

These operations directly contributed to enhancing the safety and security of EU Member States by dismantling criminal networks involved in illicit activities that endanger the lives of European citizens.

EU financial mechanisms and support

Co-financing from the European Union ensured the operations were successful. These funds are part of the EU’s commitment to combatting criminal networks that pose the most significant threats to the safety and security of EU citizens and the union as a whole. Europol, headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands, has been a crucial player in these efforts. It supports all 27 EU Member States in their battle against terrorism, cybercrime, and various forms of organised crime.

The EU security union strategy

These operations align with the EU Security Union Strategy, which prioritises the creation of a secure environment, the proactive tackling of evolving threats, the protection of Europeans from terrorism and organised crime, and the development of a robust European security ecosystem. By pooling resources and intelligence, the EU agencies, including Europol, work in close cooperation with EU Member States to combat significant criminal threats.

Also read: 27 arrested for money laundering drug money over €65 million


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