Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

The Hague, 5 July 2023

An international law enforcement operation supported by Europol has led to the dismantling of a Brazilian cartel flooding Europe with cocaine.

    A number of actions have been carried out over recent months in Brazil, Spain and Portugal to target the members of this highly professional criminal syndicate.

    On 4 May, coordinated raids were carried out in Spain and Portugal. 20 house searches were executed in Spain (provinces of Málaga, Cordoba, Madrid, Cantabria, Vizcaya) and 4 in Portugal (Cascais and Sintra), resulting in 24 arrests. Over 73 kilos of methamphetamine, 5 firearms and more than EUR 116 000 in cash were seized. Seven other members of the same gang had been arrested earlier in Spain, Portugal and Brazil.

    This series of arrests follows the June 2022 seizure of 800 kilos of cocaine hidden in a container of frozen acai berries originating from Brazil, in the port of Sines, Portugal.

    Global cooperation

    In the framework of intelligence activities underway with its operational counterparts, Europol developed reliable intelligence concerning international drug trafficking by a Brazilian organised crime network operating in several EU countries.

    The Brazilian criminal syndicate had direct contact with cocaine producers in Brazil and other South American source countries, and was responsible for the preparation and shipment of cocaine in maritime containers bound for major European ports. In August 2022, Europol brought together the investigators from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, who have since been working together to establish a joint strategy to bring the whole network down.

    Since then, Europol has provided continuous intelligence development and analysis to support the field investigators. During the action day in Brazil, two officers were deployed on the ground in Brazil to assist the national authorities, ensuring swift analysis of new data as it was collected during the action.

    Participating authorities
    • Brazil: Federal Police (Policia Federal)
    • Spain: Civil Guard (Guardia Civil)
    • Portugal: Judicial Police (Policia Judiciária)

    Source – Europol

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