An operation coordinated by the Europol, Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil), and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has led to the arrest of gang members linked to money laundering. The criminal group has ties with South American cartels.
A statement by Europol indicates that four suspects with Colombian, Spanish, and Venezuelan citizenship are in custody. Seven are facing charges of criminal offenses alongside one company. The raid carried out in three home searches in Spain led to the seizure of high-end cars, luxury items, firearms, and ammunition
Investigations indicate that besides money laundering, the gang also deals in debt collection from drug trafficking proceeds. Furthermore, the gang led a team of contract hitmen involved in the killing, carrying out threats and violence.
The statement adds that the hitmen wing’s role is to collect payments across Spain from other criminal groups buying drugs from the South American cartels.
Increasing crackdown on drug cartels
Europol acknowledges that the raid is just a small part of fighting the wide-scale money laundering. Notably, gangs are using different tactics to evade authorities.
Proceeds from the drugs are believed to be channeled into the purchase of luxury items. The gang has also been deploying smurfing techniques to put the profits in the financial system.
The latest arrest adds to the recent efforts by the Spanish authorities to dismantle drug cartels across Spain.
One of the latest high-profile raids occurred in September last year, where the Civil Guard arrested 64 with links to hashish drug tracking in Malaga and Cádiz. The suspects have faced charges of criminal offenses alongside money laundering.