Police bust Europe’s largest cocaine smuggling ring
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The Spanish police have broken up what they believe to be the largest cocaine smuggling ring in Europe, with 61 suspects arrested and 4 tons of cocaine seized.
The police confirmed on Tuesday that the 61 people detained were mainly from the Balkans, and that alongside the cocaine, 2.5 tons of marijuana and large amounts of cash had been seized.
The investigation leading to the bust was led by the European police authority Europol and involved officers from Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Colombia and the US.
The 13 arrests that took place in Spain earlier this year were carried out in the cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Tarragona, Girona and Valencia. The other arrests took place in Slovenia and elsewhere.
The gang smuggled large quantities of cocaine from South America to Europe and distributed it across the continent. The seizure took place when a shipment of 1.25 tons of cocaine, brought to Europe by ship from Brazil, arrived in Spain.
The police said that the investigation was difficult as the leading members of the group were highly mobile, did not live anywhere permanently and travelled quickly from country to country.
In addition, the gang had huge financial resources to hand. The functions of the individual members of the gang, their routes and contacts as well as the route of the drugs from South America to each European country had been gradually determined in lengthy detailed surveillance work, the police said.