45 arrested, dozens of cars and aircrafts seized in ‘biggest ever’ police sting against Brazilian-European drug ring

The European policy agency, Europol, said that as part of the investigation 52 tonnes of cocaine were seized by authorities.

Joe Middleton
Saturday 28 November 2020 14:41
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Europol law enforcement coordinating a major international drugs bust
Europol law enforcement coordinating a major international drugs bust

A major international drugs bust targeting a trafficking network between Brazil and Europe has led to 45 arrests and more than 70 luxury vehicles seized.

The European policy agency, Europol, said that as part of the investigation 52 tonnes of cocaine were seized by authorities.

The international sting was led by the Portuguese, Belgian and Brazilian authorities, and involved thousands of police officers carrying out coordinated raids on 179 homes.

Authorities arrested 38 people in Brazil, 4 in Belgium, 2 in Dubai and 1 in Spain.

They also seized 70 luxury vehicles in Brazil, Belgium and Spain. And 37 aircraft in Brazil.

Also recovered was €12 million (£10.7m) in cash seized in Portugal, €300 000 (£269,000( in cash seized in Belgium and US$169 000 (£127,000) in cash seized in Brazil.

Financial assets of ten people were also frozen in Spain and 163 homes were confiscated.

According to Europol, the crime syndicate had direct contact with drug cartels in Brazil and wider South America, who would ship containers of cocaine to European ports.

The drug trafficking network was responsible the importation of more 45 tonnes of cocaine into Europe annually, according to the agency.

Europol’s Deputy Director Wil van Gemert said: "This operation highlights the complex structure and vast reach of Brazilian organised crime groups in Europe. 

"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.”

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