Dozens arrested in crackdown on 'super cartel' that flooded Europe with cocaine




  • In US
  • 2022-11-29 12:30:00Z
  • By NY Daily News

European authorities have taken down what they called a "super cartel," arresting 49 people across six countries.

The network responsible for about a third of Europe's cocaine trade was taken down in a series of raids across Europe and the United Arab Emirates between Nov. 8 and 19, Europol said Monday. The initiative, dubbed "Operation Desert Light," dated back two years and involved several nations' police forces.

"These arrests are the culmination of parallel investigations run in Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UAE with the support of Europol into the activities of this prolific criminal network involved in large-scale drugs trafficking and money laundering," Europol said in a statement, adding that they targeted the "command-and-control center and the logistical drugs trafficking infrastructure in Europe."

Authorities seized more than 33 tons of drugs over the past two years, the agency said, noting that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration also played a role in the takedown. Most of the arrests were in the Netherlands, with 14 people arrested in 2021. Six "high-value targets" who were especially sought-after by police were picked up in Dubai, according to Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency.

"The scale of cocaine importation into Europe under the suspects' control and command was massive," Europol stated.

Drug shipments were coordinated via encrypted communications, Europol said, with the investigation focused on cocaine imported from South America through the Netherlands.

The cartel was "flooding Europe with cocaine," Europol noted.

The drug has become much more easily available, cheap and pure in recent years, and record amounts of the drug are being seized throughout Europe. It is now also being manufactured in Europe, making it even more accessible, authorities warned in May.

With News Wire Services

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