Police break up cocaine gang and seize more than 30,000 kilos of cocaine
An international operation involving the Guardia Civil, the U.S. DEA, and the British NCA, has resulted in the seizure of more than 30 tonnes of cocaine with a street value of almost two billion euros, 49 arrests, and a British male linked to the Costa del Sol has been identified as the alleged leader of the Spanish organisation.
In an official statement, the Guardia Civil have confirmed that this man left Spain some time ago after escaping a kidnapping attempt and took refuge in Dubai, from where he has allegedly continued to direct and coordinate the group's activities.
The investigation began after the seizure of 698 kilos of cocaine from a container in the Port of Valencia in March 2020. The global operation, called 'Desert Light', is the sum of several coordinated forces in Spain, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Dubai, which have led to the linking of several drug lords in what is being called a 'super-cartel'.
The statement also says that of the 49 people that have been arrested, seven of them are considered high-value targets (HVTs), and that six of these were based in Dubai.
The lead from Valencia led to the identification of those responsible for the shipment and to the exact place where the drugs were placed into the container, which was in Panama.
The Spanish side of the operation, called 'Faukas', revealed that the drugs gang had settled in Spain and was introducing containers with cocaine in them through the ports of Barcelona and Valencia on the east coast, and Algeciras which is west of the Costa del Sol and Gibraltar, and that they had also formed a complex network of property investments in the Costa del Sol area to launder the profits obtained from the drug trafficking.
On November 8th the Guardia Civil made 13 arrests in Barcelona, Madrid, and Malaga, saying that the part of the criminal organisation based in Spain, had two different structures: one in charge of the extraction of the drugs in commercial maritime ports, and the one responsible for money laundering through various companies.
The first of these cells was based in the provinces of Barcelona and Malaga, and exercised direct influence in the Catalan port. It was made up of two citizens of Bulgarian origin and three of Spanish origin, one of them being a worker at the port of Barcelona, responsible for letting vehicles in and out of the port.
The second cell included the leader of the criminal organisation and was based on the Costa del Sol, "the nerve centre of their financial activity". From Malaga, they have allegedly acquired, and allegedly laundered, movable and immovable property and shares worth around 24 million euros.
In the searches, items were found that link the arrested gang members with the criminal activity, as well as more than 500,000 euros in cash, three handguns with ammunition, and luxury cars, some of them worth almost 300,000 euros each.