POLICE have arrested two men alleged to be part of a gang that smuggled arms including tanks to war-torn countries in the Middle East and Africa.

They join seven people who were arrested in 2020 accused of being part of the same criminal organisation.

Properties worth about €10 million were seized in the original operation, led by the National Police with the help of Europol and the Spanish tax agency.

The gang, made up of Latvians, Ukrainians and Spaniards, was rounded up during raids in Valencia, Alicante and Barcelona.

They illegally shipped Russian weapons and explosives in merchant ships from Ukraine mainly to conflict zones where countries were mostly subject to international arms embargoes.

The traffickers transported weapons and heavy armament, including tanks. 

They showed little fear of law-enforcement and even sprang a ship’s captain from jail after he had been arrested by Greek authorities for arms smuggling. 

Video released by police of the original 2020 raids

Profits were laundered and sent to tax havens with lax financial rules, before being sent back to European bank accounts, mainly in Switzerland and the UK.

From there they were transferred to Spain, where the gangsters invested in properties and to finance their luxury lifestyles.

The latest two arrests were made in Barcelona and the town of El Masnou in Catalunya, with the men accused of money laundering.

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