Spanish national police, coordinating with Europol, have conducted one of the largest anti-drug raids in Europe of recent times, seizing US $ 5.2 million in Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, in addition to 800,000 doses of LSD, making it the largest ever find of the drug in Europe.
The Spanish Civil Guard, Europol and the European Union Agency also arrested eight suspects after raiding six residences in search of evidence in both Spain and Austria.
Other assets confiscated in the multiple raids included 2.3 million euros in fiat currency in addition to three properties and luxury vehicles valued at more than one million euros.
The investigation found that the arrested individuals were members of a alleged criminal organisation in operation on the European continent since 2012 and sold illicit substances through the Dark Web. According to Europol, the group sent drug packages to more than 100 countries and disguised their products so that they could pass through customs.
The organisation reportedly initially imported the raw material for the production of psychoactive substances from Asia, mainly China. However, due to a toughening of penalties in these countries the organisation installed a laboratory in Amsterdam, which served as the production unit for the synthetic drugs, hiring two chemical engineers and acquiring scientific material worth more than 200,000, euros such as synthesis reactors, chromatographs, stone crushing machines and laboratory material.
Later, two other laboratories were installed in Spain, one in Alhendín (Granada) and one in La Pobla de Vallbona (Valencia), where the final treatment was carried out on the drugs, before being packaged and distributed to the consumer.
The investigation revealed that the majority of the Bitcoins were sold to a Pakistani citizen, who gave the money in cash in exchange for the cryptocurrencies. This person acted as an intermediary between the true owner of the money and the organisation. The researchers discovered that these exchanges were made in a hotel in Madrid.
The detainees were brought before the Magistrate Court in Granada.