A total of 48 people have been detained in a large international operation against cocaine trafficking, involving the Spanish National Police, the Italian Guardia di Finanza and the Argentine National Gendarmerie. As reported by the Spanish Interior Ministry on Friday, more than 750 policemen from the three countries participated in an operation that has led to the complete dismantling of a criminal organisation dedicated to drug trafficking from South America and to Spain and Italy.
The organisation was led by ‘the Loza clan’ – three brothers who had been one of the main targets of the Argentine police authorities for more than a decade. Twenty-one arrests were made in Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga, with suspects facing charges of drug trafficking, belonging to a criminal organisation and money laundering. In addition, a simultaneous operation was carried out in Argentina and Italy, which involved the arrest of numerous people and the confiscation of a large quantity of money and other goods.
In Argentina 17 people have been arrested and raids carried out on dozens of properties.
The organisation is suspected of distributing about two tons of cocaine, of which the Spanish National Police seized 1,200 kilos in Almuñécar (Granada) and Zarauz (Guipúzcoa) in November 2017. A month later Argentine police intercepted a shipment of 1.1 tons of cocaine destined for Europe.
During the first phase of the investigation, which focused on the trafficking of marijuana, 10 people were arrested in Coín (Málaga) and more than 2,00 marijuana plants seized, along with 53,000 euros in cash and 14 firearms.
The arms were reportedly supplied by a Spanish soldier who was arrested during a raid on his house where further weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were found.
The organisation laundered its profits through investments in the real estate sector or the purchase of winning lottery tickets.
It also invested legal businesses including hotels, restaurants, car washes, and real estate.