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Spanish police arrest 71 in hectic multinational drug bust, seizing narcotics, cash and guns

Spanish police arrest 71 in hectic multinational drug bust, seizing narcotics, cash and guns
Spain’s Guardia Civil has arrested 71 people associated with a drug trafficking ring operating between Sweden and Spain, seizing tons of narcotics, cash and guns.

On Thursday, Spain’s national police published a video depicting the intense raids. The footage shows Spanish forces – accompanied by police sniffer dogs – uncovering large amounts of hashish, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine and an opioid substitute for heroin.

The authorities also seized two submachine guns, a rifle, eight handguns, a hand grenade, five compressed air pistols and 400 cartridges.

Additionally, huge amounts of illegal money were intercepted during operation ‘Candinavia-Mueble’, including €592,000 ($695,000) in cash, €1.8 million in bank accounts and bitcoin wallets with an estimated value of €15,000.

Spanish police have reported that properties valued at more than €14 million have also been blocked.

The drug traffickers reportedly used a Swedish removal company based in Alicante and Malaga to transport drugs largely purchased from Morocco to Northern Europe.

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The operation consisted of four phases. Firstly, authorities identified the fraudulent company’s drug trafficking and methods of smuggling. Drugs were mainly found hidden in furniture.

In phase two, Spanish police arrested “one of the most violent criminals in Europe” in Madrid. The individual was a fugitive wanted by Europol for conspiracy for homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping and extortion, and was linked to the drug ring.

The third phase of the operation entailed the syndicate's purchasing and smuggling of drugs from Morocco. The traffickers used “modified surfboards” with hooks and fastening supports that connected with underwater propulsion engines to transport tons of hashish into Spain.

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This phase of the operation also included raids on the luxury properties of the criminal organization's leaders, where police found AK-47s, grenades, 500kg of marijuana, 23kg of amphetamine and 5kg of cocaine.

The final phase concentrated on the organization’s attempts to launder its drug money through luxury real estate investments. Authorities located and blocked 64 luxury properties and land linked to the operation, as well as 23 vehicles.

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