The Hague, 18 July 2013
A lengthy joint Spanish and Belgian police investigation, supported by Europol and Eurojust, has resulted in the seizure of over 5 tonnes of hashish, many assets, and the arrest of 46 suspected members of a major organised crime group.
Operation Tunido/Boemerang ran for over a year and, in addition to the arrests, saw the seizure of assets valued at EUR 13 750 000, which included:
- 5 301 kg of hashish
- 2 fishing boats
- 77 vehicles
- 20 buildings
- 5 companies
- EUR 225 230 in cash
A leather shop in Málaga (Spain) was a front for the prolific money launderers who, using nominee companies and money transfers to other countries, laundered more than EUR 13 million in 2012. Since 2007, the organised criminal group is estimated to have laundered approximately EUR 50 million earned from trafficking hashish.
The criminal group had contacts in Africa who cultivated and processed the cannabis, which was then transferred from Morocco to Spain by boat. Once the drugs reached Spain, a gang would within minutes transfer the consignments to vehicles for storage or onward distribution to other European countries.
A joint investigation team was established through Eurojust, which facilitated the rapid exchange of intelligence between the Belgian Federal Police, the Spanish Guardia Civil and Europol.
Europol supported the investigation for over a year by funding and hosting operational meetings and delivering 15 forensic reports, two cross-match reports, three operational analysis reports and one social network analysis report. In addition, two Europol analysts were deployed, along with the mobile office and Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED). Data extracted from seized mobile telephones will be further analysed and cross-checked by Europol.
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