Members of a ‘super cartel’ that authorities said was responsible for trafficking a third of Europe’s cocaine have been arrested in Dubai.

  • The European crime agency, Europol, announced a massive drug bust on Monday.
  • The agency said at least 49 suspects were arrested in 6 countries, with the main targets located in Dubai.
  • The cartel was responsible for a third of the cocaine trade in Europe, the agency said.

Members of a cartel that trafficked more than a third of the cocaine consumed in Europe have been arrested in a complex multi-agency operation that involved cracking an encrypted messaging app and locating several high-profile suspects in Dubai.

According to the European law enforcement agency EuropolIn the first three weeks of November, crime agencies in Spain, the US, France, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere worked together to track down the syndicate. By the end of the month, some 49 suspects had been arrested and more than 30 metric tons of cocaine had been seized.

“Drug traffickers considered high-value targets by Europol banded together to form what is known as a ‘supercartel’ that controlled around a third of the cocaine trade in Europe,” Europol said. in a press release on Monday.

Overall, through Europol’s “Operation Light of the Desert”, union members were detained in six different countries.

At least six of the group’s most wanted traffickers have been arrested in Dubai, the statement added. The arrests date back to 2021 when investigators tracked several of the international kingpins through an encrypted messaging app.

The Associated Press reported that several of the traffickers, including a Bosnian-Dutch man, intercepted messages from an encrypted messaging service called Sky ECC, leading to more arrests in November. The production and seizure of cocaine in Europe reaches an all-time high in 2022, according to AP.

“The scale of cocaine importation into Europe under the control and command of the suspects was massive,” Europol said.

In the statement, the agency added that the trafficking ring was also involved in money laundering and amphetamine production on the mainland.

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