Police dismantle criminal organisation smuggling cocaine from Ecuador via air

by Lorraine Williamson
cocaine from Ecuador

Policia Nacional have successfully dismantled a criminal organisation allegedly dedicated to smuggling cocaine via air from Ecuador to Spain. Twelve people have been arrested in Madrid, Menorca, and Murcia as Policia Nacional seize 70 kilos of recently imported cocaine.

The operation led to the arrest of twelve individuals in the provinces of Madrid, Menorca, and Murcia. Seven of them are now in provisional detention. The suspects are believed to be connected to a criminal network specialising in smuggling the illicit substance through Madrid’s airport. The drugs were concealed in luggage.

Cocaine from Ecuador

The operation resulted in the seizure of 70 kilos of recently imported cocaine from Ecuador. In addition, €155,000 in cash, three firearms, an electric immobilising pistol, telecommunication equipment, and geolocation devices were also seized.

The investigation was initiated upon the detection of an organised criminal presence in Spain, operating across various provinces with a well-structured hierarchy and sufficient economic resources to facilitate periodic cocaine imports.

Modus operandi

The modus operandi involved smuggling drugs in concealed suitcases on flights from cocaine-producing countries to Spain. Moreover, they evaded routine luggage checks at both origin and destination airports.

The investigation commenced in Menorca, where one of the key organisers of the drug importation resided. After various inquiries, authorities discovered numerous personal contacts between the organiser and individuals in different cities such as Vigo and Alicante. Furthermore, these contacts routinely met in Madrid. This was where the organisation’s members gathered to plan the importation and subsequent distribution of the narcotics.

Cogesa Expats

Suitcases containing drugs

The leader of the organisation, a Spanish national with substantial financial resources and extensive contacts, was responsible for liaising with criminal organisations in Ecuador capable of clandestinely introducing suitcases containing drugs at the national airport, bypassing routine controls for shipment to Spain.

For the reception of the illicit cargo in Spain, the network relied on two individuals. One was residing in Menorca and the other in Vigo. Moreover, these individuals were tasked with orchestrating the receipt and subsequent distribution of the suitcases.

During the suitcase reception, which contained 70 kilos of cocaine, the detainees arrived accompanied by others aiming to secure both the reception and distribution processes. They used high-end vehicles to transport the suitcases to various locations in Spain for further distribution.

Arrests and seizure

As a result of this operation, law enforcement successfully apprehended twelve individuals, with ten in Madrid, one in Murcia, and one in Menorca, with the collaboration of the Guardia Civil. In addition to the cocaine, authorities seized €155,000 in cash, three luxury vehicles, three firearms, an electric immobilising pistol, as well as telecommunication equipment and geolocation devices.

Also read: Major cocaine seizure in Spain

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