Belgian, Dutch, and German police have arrested 17 suspected cocaine kingpins related to a record bust in the ports of Hamburg and Antwerp, the EU policing enterprise Europol stated Thursday.
Federal and regional police in a three-country Operation swooped on extra than 35 premises and confiscated four residences, four automobiles, electronic systems, watches, and cash valued at five.5 million euros ($5.Nine million), Europol stated.
11 suspects were arrested in Germany, 5 in Belgium, and 3 in the Netherlands, the Hague-based agency stated in a statement.
“This operation targeted the European and South American drugs and money-laundering infrastructure of a large-scale trafficking network,” Europol said.
The arrests were linked to a probe into the seizure of some 34 tonnes of cocaine in February last year in Hamburg and Antwerp — a record haul valued at billions of euros — Europol said.
“During the investigation, the cooperating authorities uncovered that this criminal group had the capacity to ship multiple multi-tonne cocaine consignments towards Europe in just a few months,” the agency added.
Police were able to expose the cocaine operation after taking down the SKY ECC communications platform.
Last year hacked into the network, almost exclusively used by organized crime groups to communicate via encrypted telephones.
Dozens of other suspects had already been arrested in February in a primary operation coordinated by way of Europol in six European countries in connection with the identical case.