Police "haul" from drug gang asset seizures totals EUR 83million
Seized assets of drug traffickers include cars, jewellery, bank deposit and real estate31 March 2008
MADRID - Police seized assets with a book value of at least EUR 83 million from drug traffickers operating in Spain last year, according to figures made public at the weekend.
The assets include luxury cars, jewellery, bank deposits and above all real estate, the market value of which would be considerably higher than book value reported by the police Anti-Drugs and Organized Crime Unit.
"The unit has carried out important operations," an Interior Ministry source noted. "Its work against money laundering is one of the pillars on which the Interior Ministry has based its fight against drug trafficking networks and organized crime."
The assets are believed to have been used by the criminal gangs to launder money in Spain, with real estate investments being a popular choice. Through complex webs of front companies, trafficking networks have been known to set themselves up as property developers, pumping drugs money into new housing estates and tourist complexes, especially on the Costa del Sol.
Money not invested and laundered here is sent abroad, with revenues from cocaine trafficking returning to Colombia, Miami and the Caribbean, while income from heroin trafficking is most often routed via Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, police say.
[Copyright El Pais 2008]