International Cocaine Trafficking Ring Dismantled, 3,210 kilos of drugs

A groundbreaking operation exposed a criminal organization trafficking of cocaine between continents, leading to the seizure of 3,210 kilos of cocaine and the arrest of 32 individuals, the Agencia Tributaria tax and customs authority said in a statement on Friday.

The authorities have dismantled the criminal organization trafficking of cocaine from Ecuador through fruit containers, and money laundering using a complex business network.

At the heart of this cross-continental investigation are an Italian businessman in Marbella and an Albanian citizen in Ecuador, who, together, orchestrated a scheme that funnelled thousands of kilograms of cocaine across the globe.

Both ran fruit producing and exporting companies from Ecuador to the whole world, with a business volume of hundreds of containers exported per year, which allowed perfect coverage for their economic situation.

The agents’ investigations revealed that both individuals took advantage of their companies’ exports to hide cocaine in the containers.

The investigation has made it possible to prove drug shipments from the organization to the Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, Romania, Albania and Spain, with a total of 3,210 kilograms of cocaine being seized between 2019 and 2022 in various countries and 200 kilos of the drug in Spain.

The analysis by the researchers has made it possible to reveal laundered assets worth 36 million dollars in Ecuador and 12 million euros in Spain and detect how several of those investigated would be laundering their illicit profits through the acquisition of crypto assets.

The investigation culminated on February 6 in an operation in which more than 800 police officers in Spain and Ecuador participated.

A total of 32 people has been arrested from Spain, Ecuador and from the United Kingdom, belonging to a criminal structure based in Ecuador to which the seizure of 3,210 kilos of cocaine in various countries is attributed, as well as 200 kilos of the narcotic introduced into Spain through the port of Algeciras.