700 kilos of cocaine seized – Shipment linked to Italian ‘Ndrangheta and Balkan Cartel

By Gangsters Inc. Editors

The Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) dismantled a criminal organization smuggling large quantities of cocaine from South America to Europe via the Canary Islands. The investigation identified a significant threat; criminal organizations’ increasing ability to collaborate closely and deploy members to different locations for longer periods to enable large-scale drug trafficking.

The investigation, initiated in March 2022, focused on a Polish-flagged vessel with an established temporary base in the Canary Islands, and which was suspected of being used for the transportation of cocaine. Since then, law enforcement authorities monitored the activities of the crew.

‘Ndrangheta and the Balkan Cartel

One of the individuals, an Italian national, was linked to the Italian ´Ndrangheta and the other, a Croatian national, was linked to the so-called Balkan Cartel. Although they had no legitimate jobs, both were enjoying high living standards while maintaining the vessel in excellent condition.

The suspicious vessel was making irregular trips to act like everything was normal up until July 27, 2023, when Spanish authorities detected an unusual trip to an isolated point deeper in the Atlantic Ocean. The vessel departed from there on August 2.

Three days later Spanish authorities raided the ship and uncovered 700 kilograms of cocaine on it. Officers on the ground in Spain arrested the Croatian suspect and another person, a Serbian national, both suspected of coordinating the drug smuggling operation from the land. During the arrests, the suspects were found in possession of the phones from which they coordinated the criminal activity.

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