News of the arrest of the right-hand man of alleged British drug kingpin Robert Dawes -- accused of trafficking drugs from South America to Europe -- has emerged. The Spanish Civil Guard took Dutchman Emiel Brummer into custody on the coast of Malaga, Spain, following a joint operation with the Dutch police and help from Interpol.
Their investigations revealed that Brummer, aged 42, frequently traveled there to meet with Dawes before the latter's arrest in November 2015. The visits were to "receive instructions about trafficking and the distribution of drugs" arriving at European ports, mainly those in Antwerp, Belgium and Rotterdam, Holland, according to a Spanish Civil Guard press release dated June 16.
The guard said Brummer met frequently with South American cartel bosses in Holland to negotiate drug deals that used the drug pipeline from their countries to Europe. He is also a suspect in at least 15 murders occurring over the last three years.
It is not clear when Brummer was detained. European press reports allege that he was arrested back in April, but the Spanish Civil Guard press office told InSight Crime that his detention was much more recent. He was extradited from Spain to the Netherlands, where he is currently being held.
Brummer's boss, Dawes, is 44 and originally from Nottingham, UK. He is accused of running Europe's "largest criminal organization dedicated to drug trafficking, money laundering and murder."
Known as "the general" in the British courts, UK police believe he is responsible for bringing millions of dollars worth of cocaine, heroin and marijuana from South America across mainland Europe and into the UK.
Dawes was detained in his home on the Costa Del Sol in Spain in a raid last year and is currently being held by authorities in France on suspicion of drug trafficking and his possible involvement in a series of murders in the Netherlands.
An investigation by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) resulted in the jailing of eight of his associates in early 2015 after French authorities seized 1.3 tons of cocaine hidden in suitcases on an Air France flight from Caracas to Paris.
InSight Crime Analysis
The arrest of Brummer, his boss Dawes and other associates suggests European authorities are closing in on at least some major operators taking advantage of the cocaine pipeline between South America and Europe.
Anecdotal press reports suggest that violence is growing around the movement of cocaine through European cities, and it makes sense that Dawes should hail from the UK. Drugs brought in from South America command a much higher price on British streets than in other parts of Europe, according to NCA.
Cocaine can sell for $56,000 per kilo in the UK as opposed to $33,700 in the Netherlands.
It's likely Brummer was meeting with cartel operatives from Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela, all of which are listed as "key departure points" for cocaine headed to European illegal drug markets in a recent report.
The drug is smuggled out in vessels, private yachts or by air from those countries, according to the report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
Trafficking methods are evolving to avoid interdiction, and the use of shipping containers on commercial vessels is growing as criminal networks corrupt port officials on the European continent to let the shipments in. Seizures involving shipping containers have gone up six-fold since 2006.