Spanish Police Bust International Drug Network; 9 Arrested

Published: 23 October 2023

Spain Police DrugsSpanish authorities found ten international companies implicated in money laundering and trafficking of drugs and luxury cars. (Photo: Ministerio del interior, License)

By Erika Di Benedetto

Spanish police detained nine suspected members of an international criminal organization believed to have trafficked drugs, laundered money through shell companies and seemingly legitimate enterprises in the U.K. and Belgium, and sold stolen cars.

To clean the profits generated from drug sales, the suspects employed front men, falsified invoices, conducted transactions with individuals less likely to be checked by law enforcement, frequently changed company administrators, engaged in irregular real estate deals, and utilized foreign accounts for the payment of goods and services, according to a police statement.

The police conducted searches at 12 locations, resulting in the seizure of cash, dozens of mobile phones, several vacuum packaging machines, two cannabis sativa plantations, other illegal drugs, stolen license plates, and two handguns.

Officers also confiscated 14 high-end vehicles that were stolen and modified to conceal their illicit origins for resale. Two of the organization's luxury vehicles had concealed compartments designed for transporting drugs.

Additionally, 30 bank accounts linked to the criminal network were frozen to prevent further illicit financial activities.

It’s not the first time authorities found that luxury vehicles were used for transporting illicit drugs.

In September, authorities discovered another criminal network that engaged in similar actions. Their vehicles were not only sold to legitimate dealers but were also made accessible to other criminal networks associated with drug trafficking. This was accomplished through a deceptive "renting" scheme, where the vehicles were registered under the name of a company with a front man, or they were directly employed for the transportation of illegal narcotics.