European police smash drugs, money laundering network
European police Tuesday arrested six suspected members of a multi-national drug trafficking and money laundering network and confiscated millions in cash, two police agencies said here.
"Today in total, six suspects were arrested and ten simultaneous house and company searches were conducted in five countries," the Hague-based European police and judicial co-operation agencies Europol and Eurojust said.
Police and customs officials confiscated more than 2.5 million euros ($3.5 million) in cash, jewellery, watches, mobile phones and bank, real estate, diplomatic and administrative documents, as well as cocaine-making equipment.
"These operations mark the result of long investigations which started in Germany, and continued in France concerning an international network of Lebanese criminals, highly specialised in money laundering and trafficking large amounts of cocaine," the statement said.
Investigations also covered Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain and were sparked off when French customs officers discovered large quantities of banknotes in a car during a random check in March last year.
The banknotes "subsequent to testing, revealed significant traces of cocaine," said the statement.
Following an investigation co-ordinated by Eurojust and assisted by Europol, judicial, police and customs officers involved in the "highly complicated case", conducted the operation and carried out arrests.
"These investigations show these different criminal groups - drug producers, dealers, traffickers and money launderers work together worldwide in very close co-operation," the statement added.
© 2011 AFP