Spain: 34 Detained in Operation Against International Drug-Trafficking Ring
By Dialogo May 06, 2011
On 4 May, the Spanish police announced the dismantling of an international drug-trafficking ring, in an operation in which two tons of cocaine were seized and thirty-four individuals from five countries were detained.
The ring also engaged in extortion, money laundering, and kidnapping, the Interior Ministry indicated in a statement.
The police seized “101 pieces of real estate with an assessed value of more than three million euros,” as well as thirty-nine vehicles, one weapon, and extensive computer and telephone paraphernalia.
The group “was perfectly organized and had the necessary infrastructure to bring in large amounts of cocaine hidden inside shipping containers, by way of various Spanish ports, for its subsequent distribution in different locations in Spain and other European countries,” the statement explained.
The ring used “violence, both in Spain and in Colombia and other European Union countries, against other members of the organization whom they threatened with death or kidnapped in order to guarantee drug-trafficking operations,” the ministry specified.
“One Spaniard was kidnapped by paramilitaries in the Colombian jungle, as a result of which he had to pay a significant amount of money,” it added.
The thirty-four detainees include twenty-seven Spaniards, four Colombians, one Italian, one Dutchman, and one British man, as the result of an operation that began a year ago and was carried out with the collaboration of the police forces of Colombia, Morocco, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
Two of the detentions took place in Morocco, and the rest in Spain.
Spain is the principal European gateway for cocaine coming from Latin America and for hashish from North Africa.