Spanish authorities say they have successfully completed a very large investigation into cocaine smuggling after more than a year. 40 suspects were arrested in Spain, Morocco, and Germany. The investigation started on a group of people who smuggled cocaine in the Spanish Denia and Spanish Basque country on sailing boats.
The drugs were hidden in the prow of the sailboats. In one of these sailing boats, 400 kilos of cocaine was found when it docked at the port of Cádiz. In total, four tons of cocaine has been seized since 2016. Over 13 million euros in cash, 18 luxury cars and a number of sailboats were confiscated.
Part of the cocaine was destined for Great Britain. The investigation was a co-operation between the Guardia Civil, German Customs, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Italian Carabinieri, Europol, and the Moroccan security service DGST.
The main suspect is a Spaniard who coordinated large drug transports and money laundering operations from Venezuela, according to Europol. This man is currently on the run and is internationally wanted.
The network was divided into two groups. One group of people operated from the Spanish Basque country and worked with the boats. Another network had Melilla, the Spanish enclave in Morocco, as their base. From there, transports of money were arranged that were sent to Venezuela in various ways, including in containers with furniture from Spain. The DEA came with information about this part of the network.
From Melilla the recruitment of money couriers was arranged, usually people in financially vulnerable positions. The leader of the group in Melilla lived in Frankfurt, Germany.