THE alleged leader of a €600 million empire involved in drug trafficking, money laundering and murder-for-hire has been arrested in Andalucia today.
The arrest occurred on a property in Huelva following the largest ever investigation by Europol, involving Spain’s Policia Nacional and police from the UK, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia.
The identity and nationality of the 48-year-old have not yet been released.
At least 22 other suspects have been arrested across the continent.
Authorities seized €8 million in cash, diamonds, gold bars, jewelry and luxury vehicles.
The organisation was described by police as ‘highly professional’ and ‘dangerous’.
It was dedicated to large-scale drug and cigarette trafficking, mostly into the UK.
The profits would then be laundered through currency exchange offices before being invested into the property market in Spain and elsewhere.
The group also arranged and carried out murders for hire, according to police.
Investigators believe the gang raked in around €600 million between 2017 and 2019.
Its leaders and members used counter-surveillance and counterintelligence measures to try to evade police, as well as high-tech and encrypted communication devices.
It forced the five countries involved to create a special task force through Europol in November last year.