MADRID – Spanish police have dismantled one of the main organizations of large-scale cocaine trafficking between South America and Spain, arresting 50 people and seizing more than 5.5 million euros ($7.5 million) in cash, authorities said Friday.
They also confiscated 65 luxury cars and six boats.
The ring had an extensive import-export business infrastructure between Argentina and Spain which included their trans-Atlantic container traffic.
Agents arrested 50 people for drug trafficking and money laundering in Spain and Argentina.
The ring, chiefly made up of Colombians and Mexicans, camouflaged the drug in packages of 1 kilo (2 pounds, 3 ounces) hidden among shipments of apples.
One point of entry was the northwestern Spanish port of Vigo, from where the drug was sent via a container-distribution company to recipients throughout Spain.
Contact among the traffickers took place on frequent trips between Argentina and Spain to supervise the drug trade.
In fact, one of the Spaniards running the ring stayed in Argentina most of the year to oversee the first phase of operations.
Thanks to the collaboration of the international police, more than 3.5 tons of cocaine were seized in Argentina and Brazil that would soon have been on their way to Spanish ports.
A 200-kilo (440-pound) drug consignment was also found in the port of Barcelona in a container of scrap metal.
The money obtained from drug trafficking would be laundered later through several luxury-car dealerships.
The traffickers enjoyed a very rich lifestyle, with the personal expenses of one kingpin amounting to some 2,000 euros ($2,700) a day. EFE