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Major mob 52 tons of cocaine seized on crackdown on Brazilian gang smuggling drugs into Europe

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Cash seized by Europol

Cash seized by Europol

Cash seized by Europol

A whopping 52 tons of cocaine has been seized in a major international operation against a drug-trafficking network between Brazil and Europe, according to Europol.

A major international drug-trafficking operation has been dealt a serious blow after thousands of police from numerous agencies carried out what has been described as “the biggest ever crackdown“ of its kind.

More 1,000 police officers conducted 179 house searches in different countries early on Friday morning, which led to the arrests of 45 people in a major international operation.

The international investigation had been brought together by Europol in April and was led by authorities in Portugal, Belgium, and Brazil resulting in the “record haul”.

Thirty-eight people were detained in Brazil, four in Belgium, two in the United Arab Emirates, and one in Spain. Europol, which coordinated the operation, has described the suspects as members of a ”highly professional criminal syndicate.”

The drug trafficking network is believed to have imported at least 45 tons of cocaine into main European seaports each year, with profits exceeding €100 million over six months.

Authorities also seized 70 luxury vehicles in Brazil, Belgium, and Spain in the raids as well as 37 aircraft in Brazil. Also recovered was over €12 million in cash in Portugal, €300 000 in cash in Belgium, and over R$1 million Brazilian Real (€157,000) and $169 000 (€141,000) in cash from Brazil.

A further 163 properties were seized in Brazil worth in excess of R$132 million (€20.7 million) as well as two houses in Spain valued at €4 million, and two apartments in Portugal worth €2.5 million.

Ten individuals in Spain have also had their assets frozen as part of the operation, Europol said.

“This operation highlights the complex structure and vast reach of Brazilian organized crime groups in Europe,” said Europol-s Deputy Director, Wil van Gemert.

“The scale of the challenge faced today by police worldwide calls for a coordinated approach to tackle the drug trade across continents.”

“The commitment of our partner countries to work via Europol underpinned the success of this operation and serves as a continued global call to action,” he added

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