A SPRAWLING Colombian-led narcotics ring that flooded the Balearics with cocaine from its base in Barcelona for the past six years has been brought down.
The crack police investigation, which saw over a tonne of drugs seized and 72 arrests across Spain, marks the dismantling of the largest drug trafficking operation in Spain to date.
In the most recent police raids, 33 individuals were rounded up in the province of Barcelona and a further 29 in Palma.
All those caught in the police dragnet were from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Spain, aged between 20 and 50.
Police also uncovered three cutting edge drug labs hidden around Barcelona which were used to process the pure cocaine into street-level ‘bricks’ branded with the notorious Nazi ‘Imperial Eagle’ logo.
The highly complex criminal organisation used a network of over a dozen lorry drivers to introduce 10kg of cocaine a week to the popular islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca.
The merchandise arrived from South America at the ports of Valencia and Barcelona and would then be moved to the laboratories in Tarragona and Barcelona for processing and later to ports in Palma and Acudia by ferry.
While the boss enjoyed a lavish lifestyle of fast cars and luxury mansions befitting a drug lord, the lorry drivers would earn just €2,000 each a week.
They were subject to strict internal discipline and tight schedules, and those who delivered late would have their share reduced the following week as punishment.
The traffickers would camouflage the drugs within regular cargo such as fruit pulp, using drivers from legitimate companies to move the illicit substances.
The operation didn’t stop at cocaine – authorities also found 90 kilograms of ketamine, over 3,300 ecstasy pills, varying quantities of marijuana and hashish, 500 kilograms of cutting agents, several firearms, and €460,000 in cash.
Bizarrely, police also confiscated 15 Spanish fighting roosters, four dogs and two Amazon parrots.
The epic hunt got underway in the summer of 2022, when undercover agents uncovered three brothers of Dominican descent who were running drugs in bars and clubs in the Palma neighbourhood of Gomila.
From this lead, agents managed to unpick the criminal gangs in the rundown area of Son Banya that supplied drugs to the wider region.
They managed to work up to the gangleader who ran the Virgen de Lluc neighbourhood, and here they found the connection to the transport companies delivering the drugs to the Balearics.
It marked a eureka moment for police, as previously they had not been able to figure out how the criminals had been getting the drugs into the islands.
From there, investigators managed to unravel the entire network back to the points of origin for the drugs in Valencia and Barcelona.
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