HomeNewsBriefSpain and Morocco Bust Colombia Cocaine Trafficking Ring
BRIEF

Spain and Morocco Bust Colombia Cocaine Trafficking Ring

COCAINE / 7 DEC 2016 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Police in Spain and Morocco have dismantled what has been called the "most active" drug trafficking organization to operate across three continents, shedding light on the broad networks with connections to Latin America that smuggle cocaine via the Atlantic Ocean into Europe.

In the first joint Spanish - Moroccan operation against maritime cocaine trafficking, authorities reportedly dismantled a transnational organization operating, in part, from Colombia and seized 2.575 metric tons of cocaine. Spain's Interior Ministry described the group as "one of the main drug trafficking networks operating in three continents," with "great financial and logistical capacity."

A video of the operation by the Spanish police

Authorities tracked the cocaine shipment as it headed from South America to Spain and was transferred to a Moroccan fishing vessel near Cabo Verde, La Voz de Asturias reported. On November 12, security agents intercepted the boat around 160 kilometers off the coast of the disputed territory of Western Sahara. As part of the operation, 18 people were arrested in Morocco and 6 others in Spain.

SEE ALSO:  Coverage of European Organized Crime

The group had Colombian origins and was headquartered in Spain -- where the leader of the Colombian "oficina" (literally translated as "office") reportedly operated -- and had another base in Morocco. Its members were Colombian, Spanish and Moroccan nationals.

16-12-07-LatAm-La-Voz-grafico-cocaina

A map of the recently busted trafficking operation. C/o La Voz de Asturias

The news comes only days after French authorities discovered 1 metric ton of Colombian cocaine apparently belonging to a network made up of citizens from various countries of Latin America and Europe.

InSight Crime Analysis

This seizure is representative not only of the cocaine trafficking route that goes from the Americas to West Africa and Europe, but also the expansion of a Colombian-style crime syndicate across the Atlantic, notably via the so-called oficinas. While these were originally debt collection offices for traffickers in cities such as Medellín, today they are essentially foreign branches of Colombian organized crime that provide services to international criminal organizations and that set up drug shipments. Colombia's largest criminal organization, the Urabeños, is one of the most recent groups to begin setting up oficinas in Spain.

SEE ALSO:  Urabeños News and Profile

It is unclear whether or not this dismantled network had ties to larger groups, but the Atlantic cocaine route to Europe has long been used by powerful criminal organizations from across the world.

Italy's 'Ndrangheta mafia has been one of -- if not the most -- important European player in Latin America for decades, and has tentacles all across the continent. More recently, Eastern European networks, particularly from Serbia and Montenegro, have been increasing their clout in drug transportation from Latin America. This was illustrated only months ago, with the arrest of a Serbian crime boss in Peru.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 12 OCT 2012

The Colombian Defense Minister claimed that 887 guerrillas have demobilized so far this year, most of them members…

COLOMBIA / 7 MAY 2015

An estimated 12 percent of Colombia's population has been displaced as a result of violence perpetrated by guerrilla groups and…

EL SALVADOR / 8 JUN 2011

Testimony at a recent hearing on U.S.-Central American security cooperation showcased one of Central America’s key problems: These countries do…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…