Major Operation Leads to 42 Arrests for Drug Trafficking in Spain

In an attempt to crack down on drug trafficking, Europol supported a joint operation involving over 400 officers from French, Spanish, and Turkish law enforcement authorities. Conducted on June 11 and 12, the operation targeted a Spain-based criminal network involved in trafficking cannabis and heroin across Western Europe.

The extensive law enforcement effort resulted in the arrest of 42 suspects, including the network’s kingpin, who was residing in Spain under a false identity. Authorities conducted 28 searches across Granada, Málaga, and Sevilla, uncovering several drug production facilities and residences. Six indoor marijuana plantations were dismantled during the operation.

The operation yielded significant seizures, including:

  • Over 2 tonnes of cannabis
  • Quantities of hashish
  • Three firearms and multiple cartridges
  • A dozen luxury vehicles
  • More than €100,000 in cash

Europol played a crucial role in supporting the investigation, providing analytical assistance that was pivotal in advancing the case. On the action day, a specialist from Europol’s European Serious Organised Crime Centre was on-site, collaborating closely with Spanish, French, and Turkish authorities.

The investigation revealed that the criminal network had a history of transnational narcotics trafficking, initially focusing on heroin before expanding into cannabis and hashish. This shift was highlighted in the EU Drug Markets Analysis 2024 report, which suggested that changes in Afghanistan’s political landscape, specifically the Taliban’s 2022 drug ban, led to decreased heroin availability in the EU. This disruption in the heroin supply chain likely prompted the network to diversify its trafficking activities.

The successful operation underscores the importance of international cooperation in combating drug trafficking. Law enforcement authorities, including French Customs (Douane – Finances), the Spanish Guardia Civil, and the Counter Narcotics Department of the Turkish National Police, continue to work together to dismantle organized crime networks and curb the flow of illicit drugs into Europe.