Europe's Largest Drug Bust 8 Tons of Cocaine Seized in Multi-Nation Operation, According To Police

Europe’s Largest Drug Bust: 8 Tons of Cocaine Seized in Multi-Nation Operation, According To Police

Eight tons of cocaine were seized as a result of a years-long investigation by European police agencies to crack a significant drug smuggling ring, which resulted in the arrest of some 40 persons, Europol said on Thursday.

A final round of arrests on Wednesday delivered a serious blow to the cartel, whose leaders were located in Dubai and Turkey, according to the Hague-based police coordination organization.

Oscar Esteban Remacha, chief of Spain’s Guardia Civil’s anti-drug trafficking section, stated at a press conference in Madrid that the network had “the capacity to transport tons and tons of cocaine all over the world”.

On Thursday, Europol made public pictures and a nearly ten-minute video that showed K-9 canines and law enforcement personnel discovering bags of suspected drugs and apprehending many people. Additionally, the footage shows authorities apprehending a boat at sea and emptying bags suspected of containing drugs from it.

According to Europol, the operation’s last stage started when the Guardia Civil found 1,540 pounds of cocaine in a boat off the coast of the Canary Islands in August 2023. The crew of the boat was made up of Italian and Croatian nationals.

Because of its connections to Morocco and its connections to Latin America, Spain serves as a major entry point for narcotics entering Europe.

The leaders of the ring were identified, according to officials, when detectives shared their findings with other law enforcement agencies and discovered connections with earlier seizures.

Europe's Largest Drug Bust 8 Tons of Cocaine Seized in Multi-Nation Operation, According To Police


According to Europol, a large number of the network’s participants came from Balkan nations.

About 40 persons were detained in six nations overall, including two of the network’s most prominent Croat members who were detained in Istanbul at the end of last year.

According to Europol, the final four arrests took place in Spain on Wednesday.

“Bombings, killings, professional assassinations”

According to an AFP journalist who saw the operation, heavily armed Guardia Civil officers seized a 40-year-old suspect during a dawn raid at his home in Marbella, the Mediterranean beach resort, on Wednesday.

A Croat police officer named Tomislav Stambuk stated at the press briefing, “This is one of the biggest operations against the Balkan cartels to date.”

“Serious assessments are that the Balkan cartel is responsible for the supply of… more than half of cocaine” across Europe, Stambuk stated.

According to Europol, a large portion of the network’s assets, which have a combined value of several tens of millions of euros, have been frozen or seized. According to the report, the traffickers transported the cocaine from South America to West African and Canary Island logistical hubs.


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After there, it was distributed throughout Europe by way of facilities in Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

The arrest occurs at a time when the manufacturing of cocaine is “skyrocketing,” according to Robert Fay, head of Europol’s drugs department. He added that the amount of cocaine found at European ports had hit all-time highs and referred to the surge in drug-related violence throughout the EU as “worrying.”

“We see bombings, killings, professional assassinations, shootings happening almost every day in the European Union,” Fay stated.

About a month ago, Spanish police made the “biggest-ever seizure” of crystal meth in the nation when they apprehended 1.8 tons of the drug, which the Sinaloa Cartel from Mexico was attempting to sell in Europe.

Other significant cocaine busts have lately been made by authorities worldwide. A few days ago, two semisubmersible ships carrying about five tons of cocaine were apprehended by Colombian naval personnel in the Pacific Ocean.

The previous week, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that it had offloaded $63 million worth of cocaine at a port in Florida following a high-speed gunfight in the Caribbean Sea that resulted in the sinking of a suspected drug smuggling boat and its crew. The French Navy reported last month that it had taken 2.4 tons of cocaine out of an Atlantic Ocean fishing boat.

60% of the cocaine produced worldwide is produced in Colombia.

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