'Super-cartel' controlling a third of Europe's cocaine trade busted
Europol announces taking down an international cocaine cartel transporting the drug from South America to Europe
Europol announced on Monday that a large-scale international police operation took down a "super-cartel" that was responsible for more than 30 percent of the cocaine trade in Europe, seizing around 30 tonnes of the narcotic.
According to a statement released by the EU's police agency, 49 individuals were apprehended in several countries such as Belgium, France, Spain, and the Netherlands, including six main suspects in Dubai, and the cartel was aimed at operations transporting the drug from South America to Europe through Antwerp and Rotterdam ports.
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"The drug pins, considered as high-value targets by Europol, had come together to form what was known as a 'super cartel' which controlled around one-third of the cocaine trade in Europe," the Europol statement said.
The operation also brought down an "extremely big fish" based in Dubai and originally from the Netherlands.
"The scale of cocaine importation into Europe under the suspects' control and command was massive and over 30 tonnes of drugs were seized by law enforcement over the course of the investigations," added the statement, noting that Dubai law enforcement arrested two "high-value" targets that are linked to France, two to Spain while the remaining two were linked to the Netherlands.
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Europol also stated that six people linked to the cartel were arrested in France, while ten were apprehended in Belgium and thirteen in Spain.
The European organization also highlighted that in 2021, 14 individuals were arrested in the Netherlands as part of the same operation, adding that the current busts come in the series of efforts to combat drug trafficking, the latest being after police were able to hack encrypted mobile platform (SKY ECC) last year, which was used by organized crime groups in Europe.
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