SPANISH police have arrested 40 people belonging to a criminal gang accused of drug trafficking and money laundering.
During the Europol-led operation, police seized more than 4 tonnes of cocaine, 105 kilograms of hashish, 18 high-end vehicles and more than €13 million in cash.
Two interlinked groups were dismantled, one in the Spanish enclave Melilla in Northern Africa and one in the Basque Country. Arrests were also made in Girona, Pontevedra Madrid and Morocco.
The suspects included 34 men and 6 women of Spanish, British, Moroccan nationalities.
Police also confiscated a caravan and three boats that were used by the gang to traffic drugs.
It has been estimated the drug ring trafficked more than €103 million worth of drugs into Spain.
The operation began in Denia, Alicante when police learned that a group of people had been shifting drugs using recreational sailboats.
Officers intercepted one of these boats heading from Venezuela to Cadiz, and discovered 400 kilos of cocaine stashed in a hidden compartment in the bow of boat.
It was then discovered that the gang had connections in the Basque Country – who were responsible for trafficking the drugs by sea – and Melilla, where the money laundering aspect of the business was handled.
The group allegedly covered their operations under a fake wooden furniture shipping business and transported the money and drugs by sea hidden in containers with the furniture.
In just one bust, police seized more than €8million in cash in Valencia’s port.
The gang allegedly also used people with limited means to traffic money through airports by hiding the cash along among their belongings. Officers reported that more than €4million had been intercepted in flights bound for Venezuela from Malaga or Melilla.
Police also seized 870 kilos of cocaine in Pontevedra and 120 kilos in Lloret de Mar that was reportedly destined for the UK.
Due to the international nature of the crimes, the Spanish police also had help from US, German, Italian and Moroccan drug enforcement agencies.