Expatica news

Drugs laundering gang busted

6 August 2004

MADRID – Police said on Friday that they have broken up a gang using a car sales showroom in Toledo as a cover for laundering drugs money in an operation that also saw them seize 650 kg of cocaine from a yacht off Gran Canaria.

The chief of the Organised Crimes Brigade, Andrés Diéguez,  said the combined Police- Civil Guard investigation – “Operation Brocha” – had led to 19 arrests.

The gang is estimated to have “laundered” at least EUR 15 million from drug-trafficking; and the haul from the yacht alone would have been worth up to EUR 40 million at street value.

According to Diéguez, the gang smuggled drugs in from Venezuela for distribution all over Spain. Apart from the yacht, police also seized four luxury cars, three pistols, jewels and EUR 280,000 in cash.

Police investigations began in February when officers became suspicious about the amount of business being handled by the car  showroom. On tailing the suspects, the police found they had numerous contacts with some Colombians in Madrid.

Another lead led to a café in the Tenerife resort of Puerto de Santa Cruz, which was also being watched by the Guardia Civil.

The yacht carrying the cocaine, the “Dolphin II” was boarded off Gran Canaria, on July 30, when the sole occupant, an Austrian, was arrested. Further arrests were made in early August.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news