Spain and Europol dismantled a drug-trafficking "super-cartel" that moved an estimated third of all cocaine in Europe, the Spanish Civil Guard said Monday.
During the investigation, agents seized more than 30 tons of cocaine in various European ports, Spanish police said in a statement.
Six high-value targets known as "Lords of Drugs" have been arrested in the Gulf nation of Dubai, where they had taken refuge. Meanwhile, under the name Operation Faukas, 13 people were arrested in Spain, nine of them Spanish, the statement said.
It added that searches and arrests have been carried out in Malaga, Madrid, and Barcelona. Another 30 were arrested in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, bringing the total to 49.
On Nov. 8-19, joint actions were carried out simultaneously in several European countries and Dubai with the aim of dismantling the logistical structure, represented by the criminal groups responsible for the introduction of the drug in each country.
The organization had established its base in these countries coinciding with the location of the most important European ports considered the main gateway for drugs into Europe.
Cartel leader leaves Spain after attempted kidnapping
The statement said they had identified the leader of this network, a British citizen linked to the Costa del Sol who had to leave Spain due to a kidnapping attempt, then moved to Dubai from where he continued to direct criminal activities and maintained contacts and drug trafficking businesses with the rest of "drug lords" based in the emirate.
They also identified the supplier of the drug, a Panamanian citizen also based in Dubai, allegedly responsible for the introduction of cocaine into the port of Manzanillo in Panama.
The cartel had two structures in Spain: one in charge of extracting drugs from commercial seaports, and another for money laundering through companies.