Police bust multi-billion dollar Brazil-Europe drug ring
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Brazilian and European police have busted a drug-trafficking ring that shipped more than 17 tons of cocaine worth billions of dollars from South America to Europe, authorities said Friday.
After a two-year multi-national investigation, police arrested 15 suspects Thursday in a series of raids and seized more than $87 million ($80 million euros) in assets, said Brazilian federal police and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol).
“In a significant victory for the war on drugs, law enforcement in Latin America and Europe have taken down one of Brazil’s most active drug trafficking organizations inundating Europe with multi-tonnes shipments of cocaine,” Europol said in a statement.
The cocaine was produced in Bolivia, trucked to Brazil by a Paraguayan supplier, and sent to Europe via two large shipping companies based in the Brazilian ports of Rio Grande and Itajai, police said.
The drugs were hidden inside legal cargo shipments, then distributed in various countries on arrival, they said.
Authorities in France, Germany, Spain, and Paraguay also took part in the investigation, they said.
Brazilian federal police began investigating the group in March 2021, after authorities in Hamburg, Germany seized 316 kilos of cocaine shipped from southern Brazil.
The investigation culminated in Thursday’s raids, in which more than 200 officers took part, seizing 87 properties, 173 vehicles, and a plane across several Brazilian states and in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, police said.
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