Europol have arrested 32 suspects tied to the Italian ‘Ndrangheta - a prominent Italian Mafia-type organized crime syndicate - in Spain for their involvement in large-scale drug trafficking and money laundering.
More than 500 law enforcement officers on the ground, including special intervention teams, canine units, helicopters and drones, were involved in the operation was was carried out in September, Europol said.
The sting followed a complex investigation initiated by the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) who worked on this case together with the Italian Carabinieri (Arma dei Carabinieri) and Financial Corps (Guardia di Finanza), with the support of Europol and Eurojust.
The operation resulted in, 32 arrests, 40 house searches in Ibiza, Barcelona, Malaga and Tenerife and the dismantlement of an indoor cannabis plantation containing more than 600 plants.
Seizures included approximately $300 000 in cash, 18 kilos of amphetamine, 4.5 kilos of cocaine, firearms and ammunition.
The investigation uncovered the existence in the Balearic Islands in Spain of an organized crime group linked to the ‘Ndrangheta syndicate.
The criminal gang is believed to have played an active role in cocaine and cannabis trafficking in between Spain and Italy, using vehicles equipped with hidden compartments and speedboats to transport the drugs.
The members of this criminal organization would routinely use violence, including torture, to further their criminal goals.
Some of the arrestees are linked to a number of murders in Italy, Europol said.
The investigation also uncovered the illegal possession of firearms by some members of the gang.
The criminal profits were reinvested into real estate in Spain to hide their illegal origin, polluting the legal economy.
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