British-led 'super cartel' busted as officials seize 30 tonnes of cocaine
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A huge 'super cartel' fronted by a British national has been busted, with 49 arrests being made in Spain, France, Belgium, Holland and Dubai.
Footage released by Spain's Civil Guard today (28 November) shows armed police officers forcing their way into mansions and arresting a number of suspects. You can watch below:
As part of the international sting operation, more than 30 tonnes of cocaine was seized.
The Dubai-based criminal organisation is said to be behind a third of Europe's cocaine supply.
The Civil Guard, one of the forces involved in the 'historic' operation, confirmed a British man was heavily involved in the running of the cartel.
From his former base in Costa del Sol, he was said by cops to have been in charge of laundering the drug sales profits through real estate purchases in Spain.
Although he fled the region for the United Arab Emirates city after a kidnap attempt, authorities said he was later caught and arrested in Dubai.
A spokesperson for the force said: "During the probe investigators were able to establish that a criminal organisation was smuggling containers with cocaine inside through the ports of Barcelona, Valencia and Algeciras.
"At the same time a complex real estate business set-up had been created on the Costa del Sol to launder the proceeds of the profits obtained from the drug-smuggling.
"The leader of this organisation was identified as a British man linked to the Costa del Sol who had to leave Spain and move to Dubai after he was the subject of a kidnap attempt.
"From Dubai he continued to direct and coordinate the organisation’s criminal activities, while at the same time maintaining drug-trafficking contacts and business interests with the rest of the drug lords based in this emirate city."
A series of raids and arrests were made earlier this month as part of the Europol-led operation, with authorities from various European countries as well as the US getting involved.
The spokesperson continued: "Forty-nine people in Spain, France, Belgium, Holland and Dubai have been arrested and among them there are seven people considered by Europol to be High-Value Targets.
"With this operation a historic feat has been achieved in the fight against global drugs-trafficking.
"The police actions in Dubai, culminating with the simultaneous detentions of six HVTs who were there because they felt sure they could avoid arrest, is unprecedented.
"For months the Civil Guard has been working in a close and coordinated way with the Dubai Police within the framework of Operation Faukas.
"This has reinforced the links between both police forces which has facilitated a number of successful police actions in the last few months.
"From Dubai the leaders of this mega cartel controlled and directed the criminal activities of the different cells with the conviction that they were living in a sanctuary where they felt untouchable.
"With this international effort by all the agencies involved, a firm message is being sent to criminal organisations, in the sense that no place is safe for those who try to avoid justice."