Operation Desert Light: Europol take down substantial cocaine ‘super cartel’

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Spanish. police made 13 arrests earlier this month as half of the two-year investigation
By Mattea Bubalo
BBC News

A drug “super cartel” that managed about a third of Europe’s cocaine provide has been dismantled, police have announced

Dubbed. Operation Desert Light, forty nine people were arrested throughout six European countries, the EU’s police agency, Europol, said

They. included a British national, who is suspected of heading the operation

More. than 30 tonnes (30,000kg) of medication were seized during the two-year-long investigation, Europol said

Operation. Desert Light observed authorities in Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) work together to carry down the cartel, Europol. pronounced in a statement

Those. arrested included six “high-value targets” – these most wished by international police

Among. them was a British nationwide who Spanish police pronounced had been residing in the Costa Del Sol.

Europol pronounced the “drugpins” had shaped a “prolific felony community concerned in large-scale medication trafficking and dollars laundering”

It. added that the scale of the drug operation was “massive”

It. is the latest in a sequence of police efforts to hack encrypted telephones used by organised crime networks to site visitors medication and launder money

Cocaine. imported from South America via the Netherlands was the main focus of the investigation, and most of the arrests were made there in 2021.

The others were made earlier this month, between 8-19 November, during coordinated raids throughout the different six countries, Europol said

A. video posted to the agency’s YouTube page confirmed teams of investigators and sniffer canine looking buildings stuffed with luxury cars, although it is unclear if any property were seized during the arrests

The. British man suspected of heading the “super cartel” had fled to Dubai after earlier avoiding arrest in Spain, the country’s Guardia Civil pronounced in a assertion.

He allegedly continued to lead the cartel from the UAE.

Europol pronounced a new contract with UAE has enabled detectives to access intelligence, and arrest criminals as soon as past reach.

An nameless Europol source told the AFP news company that another “big fish” Dutch suspect, with alleged links to high-profile Dutch crime boss Ridouan Taghi, was additionally detained

Dutch. prosecutors pronounced they would request the extradition of the suspects from the UAE who now face large-scale drug trafficking and dollars laundering fees.

Analysts say knowledge from the past decade suggests access to cocaine in Europe is increasing. yearly.

Offences associated to cocaine use or possession are additionally rising, with an estimated 35. million adults consuming the drug in the past year.

Earlier this month, police in Spain conducted a sequence of raids that resulted in the discovery of the largest. haul of hashish ever found

The. packaged marijuana discovered was equivalent to nearly eleven. million vegetation.

A main expert in drug coverage instructed the operation was “unlikely to have a significant effect on the cocaine market in Europe”

Niamh. Eastwood, govt director of charity Release, which helps the decriminalisation and regulation of illegal drugs, pronounced it was a “resilient market”.

She pronounced the 2020 international policing operation that introduced down EncroChat, a mobile community and maker of modified smartphones used by organised crime groups, led to the seizure of 20 tonnes of medication in the UK

“At. the time, this was described this as ‘the broadest and deepest ever UK operation into critical organised crime’,” Ms Eastwood told the BBC. “However, cocaine and different medication continued be easily available throughout the country”.

More on this story

    • 19 December 2019
    • 5 November

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