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European Police Agencies Target Balkan Drug Cartel Behind 'Cocaine Pipeline To Europe'

Europol headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. (file photo)
Europol headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. (file photo)

Law enforcement agencies from eight European countries brought down a Balkan drug cartel, charging 61 people and seizing more than 2.6 tons of cocaine.

Europol, the European Union’s police agency, said on September 27 that the cartel had been “flooding Europe with cocaine” from South America via Spain.

The coordinated international operation involved police agencies in Spain, Croatia, Serbia, Germany, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the United States, and Colombia.

“This highly mobile criminal organization had branches active in several European countries and was composed mainly of criminals from Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia,” Europol said.

Over several months, police agencies gathered intelligence that led Spanish authorities in March to raid several cities and arrest 13 individuals, including two kingpins and a police officer working with the cartel as they were preparing to take a shipment of drugs from South America.

In another action in May, 48 other members of the organized criminal group were charged in Slovenia for distributing cocaine and marijuana throughout Europe. Ten of the suspects are under arrest.

In all, 2.6 tons of cocaine and 324 kilograms of marijuana were seized, as well as luxury cars and nearly $700,000 in cash.

Europol didn't say why news of the operation was being announced months after it took place.

With reporting by AP
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