The dragnets in the middle of the drug continue. Between November 8 and 19, coordinated raids were carried out across Europe and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Europol. They enabled the arrest of 49 suspects in various countries, including six “high-value targets” in Dubai. Among them, two French.
“These arrests are the culmination of parallel investigations carried out in Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates with the support of Europol into the activities of this prolific criminal network involved in drug trafficking. and large-scale money laundering,” Europol said in a statement.
Two “high value targets” linked to France.
Police have busted a cocaine “super cartel”. The latter controlled “about a third of the cocaine trade in Europe”, added Europol. 30 tonnes of drugs were seized by law enforcement during investigations.
Dubai has arrested two suspects of “great interest”, linked to the Netherlands, two others linked to Spain and two linked to France. “One of the Dutch suspects is an ‘extremely big fish’,” a Europol source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
In addition to the six arrests in Dubai, thirteen people were arrested in Spain, six in France and ten in Belgium. At the same time, fourteen people were arrested in 2021 in the Netherlands as part of the same operation, according to this source.
The Dutch public prosecutor’s office has indicated that it intends to ask the United Arab Emirates for the extradition of the two Dutch-linked suspects arrested in Dubai.
One is a 37-year-old man with dual Dutch and Moroccan nationality, accused of importing thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the Netherlands in 2020 and 2021. The other is a 40-year-old man with the dual Dutch and Bosnian nationality, according to the prosecution.
“These are serious criminal offenses linked to international drug trafficking, mainly from South America via the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam”, according to a press release from the Dutch public prosecutor’s office.
The two Dutch suspects are believed to be linked to Ridouan Taghi, arrested in Dubai in 2019 and currently on trial in the Netherlands, the source added.
Man accused of murder at the head of a network
Taghi is alleged to have run a massive Amsterdam-based cocaine trafficking ring and faces multiple charges, including murder.
In Spain, the Civil Guard said a total of 13 people were arrested in Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga on November 8 after 698 kilograms of cocaine were found in a container at the port of Valencia.
After an attempted arrest in Spain, the leader of this traffic, a Briton, had fled to Dubai from where he continued to direct the operations, she added in a press release, specifying that the cocaine came from the Panama and that its supplier, a Panamanian, also lived in Dubai.