National Crime Agency officers have taken part in an international operation against an organised criminal gang suspected of controlling a major part of the European drugs market.
The Europol-led operation saw 49 arrests in France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates in connection with the OCG’s drug trafficking activities, with more than 30 tonnes of cocaine seized.
The group is believed to have smuggled cocaine from south America to Europe via ports such as Barcelona, Valencia and Algeciras.
NCA international liaison officers worked with the Spanish Guardia Civil in relation to a British man alleged to be a key part of the network. Living on the Costa del Sol, he is suspected of being the group’s money launderer, setting up a construction business to conceal the criminal origin of the profits.
Another British man, believed to be the group’s leader, was arrested in Dubai having fled there from the Costa del Sol following a kidnap attempt. He is understood to have directed and coordinated the group’s criminal activities from the UAE.
Spanish police also seized 500,000 Euros in cash during raids on villas, along with weapons, high end cars and luxury watches. Some of the vehicles were worth around 300,000 Euros.
Steve Reynolds, NCA regional manager in Spain, said: “This is yet another example of the NCA’s international reach and close cooperation with overseas law enforcement agencies to help combat the organised criminals behind the trade in class A drugs.
“In this case, we helped our Spanish counterparts to target a British man who was one of the crime group’s key players. We will continue to offer any support we can to assist the Spanish Guardia Civil investigation.”
Europol coordinated the operation between 9 and 19 November.
28 November 2022