A ‘poly-criminal organisation’ that smuggled drugs throughout the European Union has been broken up in a joint action by Danish, German, Swedish and Albania police, according to a statement by Europol, which coordinated the investigation.
Led by the Danish judiciary, ‘Operation Goldfinger’ targeted an Albanian gang that transported heroin and cocaine to Western Europe in specially converted cars. The gang allegedly operated in Albania, Slovenia, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany, according to Danish authorities.
At a hearing before a judge in Denmark last week, 14 of the 31 people arrested were charged with jointly smuggling, receiving, possessing, storing and transferring approximately 1,650 kilos of cocaine and heroin. The majority of the defendants are of Albanian descent.
According to the charge, the suspects used specially made compartments in three Swedish cars to smuggle cocaine and heroin from abroad to the Copenhagen area on at least 55 occasions.
Five of the detainees were charged with contributing to the widespread drug smuggling and trafficking by exchanging and transferring money from or to the merchants to hide its origin.
The organised criminal gang has been active since March 2018, according to Danish police, who searched houses in 40 locations and found huge amounts of narcotics and firearms as well as 500,000 euros in cash.
Among those arrested outside Denmark were a 22-year-old Latvian woman in the town of Soest in the German region of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The woman is accused of transporting 18 kilograms of cocaine and heroin from abroad into Denmark on ten occasions between April and June this year together with another accused.
Another suspect was arrested in Sweden.
The alleged leader of the gang, a 51-year-old Albanian national, was arrested by local police in the Albanian city of Shkodra.