DAWN RAIDS carried out by authorities from seven countries has resulted in the takedown of one of Europe’s most active Albanian-speaking cocaine trafficking gangs.
Spain and Belgium were the main focus with 80 homes searched and 45 suspects arrested.
These include a number of ‘high-value’ traffickers, involved in multiple high-profile cases in different countries around the world.
The detainees allegedly imported cocaine from Latin America to various European ports, organising the wholesale trade of Class A drugs via planes, boats, cars and lorries.
Spain was a number of countries where huge quantities cash was laundered after the transfer of the imported cocaine.
During the Action Day, February 15, some 600 law enforcement officers along with prosecutors and investigative officers from Europol and Eurojust carried out the simultaneous raids.
Other countries involved included Croatia, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
EU-funded Europol organised the constant exchange of information and evidence needed to prepare for the final phase of the investigation.
The operation was the culmination of many months’ meticulous planning between law enforcement and judicial authorities in preparation for the day.
Investigations in Spain started in 2018, with the arrest of a high-ranking member of one organised crime group, currently in pre-trial detention.
Authorities found that gang members travelled regularly to Dubai, Mexico and Colombia to arrange their illegal trade and used encrypted communication tools to coordinate activities.
What is EUROPOL?
The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known under the name Europol, formerly the European Police Office and Europol Drugs Unit, is the law enforcement agency of the European Union (EU) formed in 1998 to handle criminal intelligence and combat serious international organised crime and terrorism through cooperation between competent authorities of EU member states.