A joint cooperation by the DEA and Europol has dismantled a drug pipeline between Colombia and Europe. Nine suspected drug traffickers were arrested today and charged with their role in transporting multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine from Colombia, Ecuador and Panama to Europe.
A container ship legally carrying scrap metal from Panama to the port of Rijeka, Croatia, was found to be transporting more than 100 kilograms of cocaine and 150 kilograms of marijuana destined for the Croatian drug market. Investigators concluded that part of the group was also involved in tobacco trafficking and in March 2017 seized more than 69,000 packets of cigarettes worth €350,000 euros.
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Over the course of the year-long investigation titled Operation Nana, several major European-based drug traffickers were identified as well as a Colombian supplier. The nine suspects were arrested simultaneously in Croatia, Germany, the Netherlands and Slovenia.
Among them were a high-ranking Croatian drug boss and a representative of a Colombian drug trafficking organization responsible for coordinating cocaine shipments to criminals based in Europe. Names of the defendants were not released by authorities.
Law enforcement agencies also set up a specialized task force which identified and targeted Europe and South America-based suspects and shipping companies involved in the cocaine trafficking operation.
Operation NANA was led by the Croatian Police and the Rijeka State Prosecutor’s Office and jointly conducted by police in Colombia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Panama, Slovenia, Spain, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Europol.
It is part of a broader strategy driven by Croatia and supported by European law enforcement authorities, the DEA and Europol, to combat the Western Balkan organized crime network known as “The Balkan Cartel.”
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