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Saturday, 1 April 2023

17 tonnes of cocaine, $87m assets seized from Brazilian ring – Europol

Europol has announced the bust of an international drug smuggling network and confiscated billions of dollars worth of cocaine.

A team of investigators seized 17 tonnes of the stimulant drug and assets worth about $87 million, with 15 individuals arrested during the operation.

The ring, one Brazil’s most active trafficking organisations, has flooded Europe with huge shipments of cocaine, according to Europol.

The organisation said the gang’s entire members were smashed, including Paraguayan suppliers, shipping outfits and money launderers who handled the proceeds.

Detectives searched 37 locations, seized 173 vehicles, confiscated one aircraft, froze the bank accounts of 147 people, and blocked 66 companies.

The Spanish authorities have confiscated the assets of alleged gang members in the investigation dubbed “Operation Hinterland.

The European police agency said the action, which lasted two years, was coordinated from two Brazilian command centres and involved police in France and Spain.

The probe began with a tip from the German Customs after it seized 316 kilos of cocaine in the port of Hamburg in December 2020.

After intel that a Brazilian company was behind the shipment, investigators uncovered routes used to smuggle cocaine from Paraguay in trucks before exporting it to Europe.

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