'Lords of Drugs' cocaine 'Super Cartel' busted and Brit 'ringleader' arrested after police raids across Europe and Dubai

28 November 2022, 15:37 | Updated: 28 November 2022, 15:48

Police have busted a gang thought to be behind a third of the Europe's cocaine trade
Police have busted a gang thought to be behind a third of the Europe's cocaine trade. Picture: Guardia Civil

By Asher McShane

A drug cartel behind a third of Europe’s cocaine supply has been taken down in a series of police raids.

Operation Desert Light saw 49 people, including the suspected British ringleader of the gang, arrested after a series of raids in six countries.

The Britsh suspect is understood to have been arrested in Dubai after fleeing the Costa Del Sol following a kidnap attempt, but allegedly kept the operation running from the UAE.

Police seized over 30 tonnes of drugs in the two-year-long investigation as well as tens of millions of pounds of assets including supercars, luxury villas, watches, jewellery and piles of cash.

Multiple arrests were made and 30 tonnes of cocaine seized
Multiple arrests were made and 30 tonnes of cocaine seized. Picture: Guardia Civil

Spain’s Guardia Civil said they seized vast amounts of cocaine stashed at ports across Europe, and said their estimates suggest the gang was behind a third of Europe’s entire drug trade. Spanish police carried out further raids around Malaga, Madrid and Barcelona.

Operation Desert Light

Europol worked with police in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Dubai to ‘dismantle’ the gang’s operation.

Raids were carried out between November 8 and 19 across Europe and Dubai simultaneously, taking down the gang’s infrastructure and assets, police said.

Police seized cars, cash and luxury properties across Europe
Police seized cars, cash and luxury properties across Europe. Picture: Guardia Civil

49 people were arrested, including 7 ‘most wanted’ targets. 15 of these were people arrested in raids in and around Spanish cities.

Spanish police said the drugs were being brought in from Panama in shipping containers, through the ports of Barcelona, Valencia and Algeciras, with profits being funnelled through properties in the Costa del Sol.

Police said they had arrested the gang's suspected British ringleader
Police said they had arrested the gang's suspected British ringleader. Picture: Guardia Civil

Spanish police said the raids were a ‘historic milestone’ in the global fight against drug trafficking.

Video footage posted to Europol’s YouTube page shows teams of investigators searching homes packed with luxury cars and motorbikes.

A source told the AFP news agency that another “big fish” target with alleged links to Dutch crime boss Ridouan Taghi was also arrested.

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