SPANISH, French and Belgian police have joined forces to smash a cocaine smuggling gang and seize €6million worth of property, watches, cars and cash.
The criminal network was involved in large-scale drug trafficking, mainly of cocaine and hashish, to Southern Spain using speedboats.
Two seizures made earlier in 2021, consisting of 4.3 tonnes of hashish and 1.3 tonnes of cocaine have also been linked to the gang.
In 16 raids in Cadiz, Barcelona and Galicia 17 arrests were made including the alleged leader of the gang.
Two of the detained men had international arrest warrants against them in connection to the seizure of 1 tonne of cocaine made in 2018 in Morocco.
The alleged leader of the organisation is believed to be one of the most important importers of cocaine and hashish from Morocco to the Iberian Peninsula.
Spanish police arrested him while he was coordinating a number of seaborne drug trafficking operations.
The organised crime group created a large network of cash-intensive front companies, including two restaurants in Barcelona. These were used to launder the drug-trafficking profits, which were also ‘cleaned’ through the payment of mortgages and simulated loans.
The suspects also paid cash for boats and cars in an attempt to cover their tracks.
Police seized 10 luxury watches worth about €2.1 million, eight properties worth about €1.9 million, more than €1 million in cash, 26 cars worth about €1 million, one boat valued at approximately €100 000, 760 lottery tickets with a value of €15,200, a banknote counter, a large number of smartphones and electronic equipment.
A total of 33 bank accounts have also been frozen.