06-13-2024, 5:19 PM

Dozens arrested, 8 tons of cocaine seized in a major European operation

Europol - Video Screenshot

Eight tons of cocaine were seized as a result of a years-long investigation by European police agencies to crack a significant drug smuggling ring, which resulted in the arrest of some 40 persons, Europol said on Thursday.

According to Europol, the operation's last stage started when the Guardia Civil found 1,540 pounds of cocaine in a boat off the coast of the Canary Islands in August 2023. The crew of the boat was made up of Italian and Croatian nationals.

Because of its connections to Morocco and its connections to Latin America, Spain serves as a major entry point for narcotics entering Europe.

The result of a protracted investigation headed by Spain's Guardia Civil force and overseen by Europol's operational task force was the discovery that a Balkan cartel was smuggling cocaine into EU countries from Colombia, Brazil, and Ecuador by means of logistics centers in West Africa and the Canaries.

The leaders of the drug trafficking group were temporarily stationed in Dubai and Turkey, according to a statement made by Europol on Thursday.

According to Europol, the network's downfall was largely due to the collaboration of nine national forces: Brazil, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

The cartel that was distributing cocaine throughout the European Union was able to dismantle its West African logistics hubs because to "unprecedented" international police collaboration, according to the Guardia Civil.

"The operation has resulted in the seizure of almost eight tons of cocaine, 40 arrests in various countries, the confiscation of 12.5 million euros in cash in various European countries, 3 million dollars in Brazil and the freezing of more than 50 million euros in Serbia" , he added.

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