ONE OF the largest Chinese drug trafficking gangs has been taken down by a combined police operation over three countries.
A total of 65 people were arrested at 29 different locations throughout Barcelona, Tarragona, Oviedo, Gijón and Bilbao.
Additionally, gang members were detained from raids in Portugal and Holland.
Some 350 officers from Spain’s Policia Nacional and Catalonia’s Mossos d’Esquadra were joined by CITCO (Intelligence Center against Terrorism and Organized Crime) and EUROPOL to make the arrests.
Investigation began in 2019 when Barcelona authorities intercepted ‘significant consignments of marijuana’.
A Catalan-based drug smuggling operation was revealed, with branches throughout Spain and abroad in Portugal and The Netherlands.
Each ‘division’ of the organisation was responsible for its own production of marijuana, that was later processed and fed into the gang’s network.
Such autonomy meant that should one faction be discovered or dismantled, the rest of the operation could still continue.
Police admit that drug shipments have already ended up in France, Portugal, Holland, Germany, Romania and the UK.
The simultaneous raids all happened on the morning of Wednesday, April 14, with 57 arrests adding to the eight that were already in custody.
Bank accounts were frozen and several properties were seized along with thirteen plantations that housed almost 40,000 marijuana plants.
The technicians that dismantled the illegal connections to utility supplies, estimated the electricity stolen could have powered almost 1200 homes.
Officers also found 8.5 kg of cocaine, 2 kg of MDMA, almost 200,000 euros in cash and more than 380 kg of marijuana buds prepared and ready for international distribution.
Authorities admit the gang was already well known by the Security Forces for its links to human trafficking and human rights abuse.
Police stress that investigations are still ongoing and further arrests haven’t been ruled out.