Europol: "Super cartel" in European cocaine trade broken up

According to Europol, there were also arrests in four European countries: 14 in the Netherlands, ten in Belgium, six in France and 13 in Spain.

Europol: "Super cartel" in European cocaine trade broken up

According to Europol, there were also arrests in four European countries: 14 in the Netherlands, ten in Belgium, six in France and 13 in Spain. In addition, 30 tons of cocaine were confiscated in the course of investigations into the smuggling network. Most of the cocaine was said to come from Latin America. It was channeled to Europe through the Dutch port of Rotterdam and the Belgian port of Antwerp.

"The scale of the cocaine importation into Europe under the control and command of the suspects was massive," Europol pointed out. Two of the six “high-ranking targets” had connections to the Netherlands, two to Spain and two to France.

According to the Dutch prosecutor, the suspect with connections to the Netherlands is a 37-year-old with Dutch and Moroccan citizenship who is said to have smuggled thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the Netherlands in 2020 and 2021. In addition, a 40-year-old with a Dutch and Bosnian passport was caught. The Dutch public prosecutor's office announced that it would apply to the United Arab Emirates for the extradition of the two suspects.

"One of the Dutch suspects is an extremely big fish," the AFP news agency learned from a source at Europol. The investigators therefore assume that the two Dutch suspects had connections to drug lord Ridouan Taghi.

Taghi was arrested in Dubai in 2019 and is currently on trial in the Netherlands. He is said to have run a huge cocaine smuggling network in Amsterdam. Murder is one of the various charges against Taghi.

The arrests now announced by Europol are said to go back to the "Sky ECC" operation, during which an encrypted communications network used by criminal organizations was smashed last year. Previously, investigators had been skimming secret information from this network for a long time. About a thousand arrests, including that of a Colombian drug smuggler, have already been traced back to the findings of the investigation.

Regarding the arrests that have now taken place in Spain, the police there said that the 13 suspects were arrested on November 8 in Barcelona, ​​Madrid and Málaga after 698 kilograms of cocaine were discovered in a container in the port of the southeastern Spanish city of Valencia.

The attempt to arrest the head of this drug trade, a Briton, in Spain failed, according to the information. He fled to Dubai and continued the illegal business from there. According to the Spanish police, the drug came from Panama - the supplier, a Panamanian, also lived in Dubai.

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