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Cocaine 'super-cartel' fronted by British drugs lord busted with 49 arrested across Europe and Dubai

A huge drug “super cartel” that controlled a third of Europe’s cocaine trade has been busted by police officers, with 49 people arrested in several countries, including France and Dubai.

The huge international operation seized 30 tons of cocaine, as well as the gang’s supercars, luxury villas and loads of cash in the ‘historic’ raids.

Spanish police said the leader of the organization is a “British citizen” who fled his former base on the Costa del Sol for Dubai, where the Kinahan Organized Crime Group is based, after an attempted kidnapping. He was later arrested in Dubai.

Another British man was arrested on the Costa del Sol, a Spanish police source said, when agents raided a series of villas in Marbella, Madrid and Barcelona.

A huge drug “super cartel” that controlled a third of Europe’s cocaine trade has been busted by police officers, with 49 people arrested in several countries, including France and Dubai. In the photo: Spanish Civil Guard police officers raid a mansion in Spain

The International Effort Also Involved Arrests In France, Spain, Belgium And The Netherlands, The Eu Law Enforcement Agency Said In A Statement. Pictured: Police Arrest A Suspect In Spain

The international effort also involved arrests in France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, the EU law enforcement agency said in a statement. Pictured: Police arrest a suspect in Spain

Huge International Operation Seized 30 Tons Of Cocaine, As Well As The Gang'S Supercars, Luxury Villas And Loads Of Cash In 'Historic' Raids

Huge international operation seized 30 tons of cocaine, as well as the gang’s supercars, luxury villas and loads of cash in ‘historic’ raids

The international effort also involved arrests in France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, the EU law enforcement agency said in a statement.

“Drug traffickers considered high-value targets by Europol came together to form what is known as a ‘supercartel’ that controlled around a third of the cocaine trade in Europe,” Europol said.

“The scale of the importation of cocaine into Europe under the control and command of the suspects was massive and law enforcement seized more than 30 tons of drugs in the course of investigations.”

Europol said Dubai had arrested two “high value” suspects who are linked to the Netherlands, two others linked to Spain and two more connected to France.

“One of the Dutch suspects is an extremely large fish,” a Europol source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Ten people were arrested in Belgium, six in France and 13 in Spain. Another 14 people were arrested in 2021 in the Netherlands as part of the same operation, Europol said.

Spanish police said more than 500,000 euros were seized during a raid on a series of luxury villas in Spain, along with three weapons, high-end cars and luxury watches.

The Civil Guard says some of the vehicles were worth around 300,000 euros (£258,000).

Spanish Police Said More Than 500,000 Euros Were Seized During The Raid, Along With Three Weapons, High-End Cars And Luxury Watches.

Spanish police said more than 500,000 euros were seized during the raid, along with three weapons, high-end cars and luxury watches.

Images Released Today By The Civil Guard Show Heavily Armed Agents Forcibly Entering Mansions Where Some Of The Arrests Were Made And Taking The Suspects Away In Handcuffs.

Images released today by the Civil Guard show heavily armed agents forcibly entering mansions where some of the arrests were made and taking the suspects away in handcuffs.

The Spanish Part Of The International Police Operation Has Resulted In The Arrest Of 15 People

The Spanish part of the international police operation has resulted in the arrest of 15 people

The images released today by the Civil Guard showed heavily armed agents forcibly entering mansions where they made some of the arrests and took the suspects away in handcuffs.

In Spain, the Civil Guard said its operation, dubbed Operation Faukas, had begun with the seizure of 700 kilos of cocaine in the port of Valencia in March 2020.

A spokesperson for the Spanish force said: “During the investigation, the agents discovered that a criminal organization was smuggling containers with cocaine inside through the ports of Barcelona, ​​Valencia and Algeciras.

They also established that a complex real estate deal had been organized on the Costa del Sol to launder the proceeds from drug trafficking.

‘The leader of this organization was identified as a British man linked to the Costa del Sol who had to leave Spain and move to Dubai after being the target of an attempted kidnapping.

“From Dubai he continued directing and coordinating the organization’s criminal activities, while maintaining drug trafficking contacts and business interests with the rest of the drug lords based in this Emirati city.”

Raids and arrests took place across Europe and in Dubai between November 8 and 19.

Spanish Police Describe The Operation, Coordinated By Europol As Part Of An International Operation Code-Named Desert Light, As

Spanish police describe the operation, coordinated by Europol as part of an international operation code-named Desert Light, as “historic”. In the picture: Spanish police seize weapons

The Civil Guard Says That Three Of The Suspects Detained As Part Of Operation Faukas, The Spanish End Of Operation Light Of The Desert, Are Considered High-Value Targets By Europol. In The Photo: Motorcycles On Properties In Spain

The Civil Guard says that three of the suspects detained as part of Operation Faukas, the Spanish end of Operation Light of the Desert, are considered high-value targets by Europol. In the photo: Motorcycles on properties in Spain

Spanish Police Said More Than 500,000 Euros Were Seized During The Raid, Along With Three Weapons, High-End Cars And Luxury Watches.

Spanish police said more than 500,000 euros were seized during the raid, along with three weapons, high-end cars and luxury watches.

Spanish police describe the operation, coordinated by Europol as part of an international operation code-named Desert Light, as “historic”.

The spokesman for the Spanish Civil Guard added: “With this international effort by all the agencies involved, a strong message is sent to criminal organizations, in the sense that no place is safe for those who try to evade justice.”

They continued: ‘From Dubai, the leaders of this mega-cartel controlled and directed the criminal activities of the different cells with the conviction that they lived in a sanctuary where they felt untouchable.’

The Civil Guard says that three of the suspects detained as part of Operation Faukas, the Spanish end of Operation Light of the Desert, are considered high-value targets by Europol.

It was not immediately clear this morning how many British citizens were among the 49 people arrested.

One of those arrested in Dubai is believed to be a Panamanian national who was supplying the cocaine.

A spokesman said: ‘He is the alleged perpetrator of the introduction of the drugs into the Port of Manzanillo in Panama who also had links to the rest of the drug lords in Dubai.

‘The criminal organization based in Spain had two differentiated structures, the part in charge of extracting drugs from seaports and the other in charge of money laundering through real estate agents.

‘The first part was located between the provinces of Barcelona and Malaga and had a direct influence on the Port of Barcelona.

“It was made up of two Bulgarians, one of whom was a high-value target for Europol, and three people of Spanish origin, including a worker from the port of Barcelona who was in charge of the entry and exit of vehicles.

‘The other part was made up of people trusted by the main leader of the criminal organization.

“He was based on the Costa del Sol, the nerve center of their financial activities, where they had bought properties worth more than 24 million euros (£20 million) and laundered their drug money.”

Dutch prosecutors said they would request the extradition of the suspects from the United Arab Emirates.

One of the suspects was a 37-year-old man with dual Dutch and Moroccan nationality, arrested for allegedly importing thousands of kilos of cocaine into the Netherlands in 2020 and 2021.

“These are serious crimes related to international drug trafficking, mainly from South America through the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam,” the Dutch prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The other was a 40-year-old Bosnian-Dutch citizen, he said.

The arrests are expected to increase pressure on the Kinahan Cartel, led by Dublin-born Daniel Kinahan.

Daniel, his father Christopher and brother Christy are believed to be living in Dubai after fleeing the Costa del Sol.

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Merry

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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