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Six "drug lords" who showered Europe with cocaine fall into their "sanctuary" in Dubai


The Civil Guard participates in an international macro-operation that concludes with the arrest, in six countries, of 49 people linked to the plots that moved a third of the caches that entered the continent

The Civil Guard has participated in the international police macro-operation that, in recent weeks, has made it possible to dismantle a "cocaine supercartel" made up of independent but interconnected drug plots, which are considered responsible for introducing a third of this drug that is moves in Europe.

Among the 49 arrested are six of those classified as drug lords, all of them captured in Dubai, an emirate in the Persian Gulf where they have taken refuge for years to benefit from the scant police and judicial collaboration that the authorities of this country provided. with other countries until recently.

They are the British Ryan Jame Hale, the Panamanian Anthony Alfredo Martínez Meza, the citizen of Bosnian origin Edin Gacanin, Zouhair Belkhair, Hoesny Ajaray and Rabhioui Bourfa,

these last three of Maghrebi descent.

In the so-called Operation Desert Light, in addition to agents from the Central Operative Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard, the police of the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Dubai have participated, coordinated by Europol, the EU police agency, and has with the collaboration of the United States, the United Kingdom and Bulgaria.

Dubai, with its 3.4 million inhabitants and high standard of living, had become in the last five years a sanctuary for big drug lords, but also for money launderers, cybercriminals and fugitives of all kinds.

The immeasurable luxury allowed them to shamelessly spend their great profits protected by the supposed impunity in which they felt due to the great difficulties that the courts of other countries had to obtain the collaboration of the authorities of the emirate.

“If a list is drawn up with the ten HVT [acronym in English for “high value targets”, a definition used in international police jargon to refer to the most wanted criminals], they will all be there,” say sources of the investigation,

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It was precisely one of those seizures, the finding during a routine inspection of 698 kilos of this drug in a container in the port of Valencia in March 2020, which put the Civil Guard on the trail of one of these plots, whose leaders They were hiding in Dubai.

As it was what is slang known as a 

blind shipment

(without the knowledge of the company that owns it or the legal merchandise it contained), then there were no arrests.

However, it did allow the UCO to verify the existence of "a criminal organization that was introducing containers with cocaine inside through the Ports of Barcelona, ​​Valencia and Algeciras", according to the Ministry of the Interior on Monday in a note.

The investigation then went in two directions.

Firstly, to Barcelona, ​​the final destination of the container.

The investigations made it possible to locate in this city the network headed by a Bulgarian citizen - also classified as a "high value target" and previously arrested for a cache discovered in Algeciras - and in which four other people allegedly participated, including a worker of the port of the Catalan capital that facilitated the entry and exit of the containers with the drug.

All of them have been arrested in Operation Faukas, as the Civil Guard baptized the part of their investigation.

Marbella was the second focus of police attention and where the drug gang that had tried to introduce the seized cocaine in Valencia was supposedly trying to launder the huge profits that drug trafficking brought them.

There, the UCO has now dismantled a plot, with the arrest of a British citizen, who had laundered 24 million euros mainly with the purchase of real estate, but also luxury items such as jewelry and high-end vehicles, including a

Lamborghini Urus

, valued at about 300,000 euros.

Along with him, five other people have been arrested, including lawyers and financial advisers, according to sources close to the investigations.

The agents arrived at this second part of the plot thanks to the analysis of messages exchanged by members of the plot in the chats of the Sky ECC telephone application, presumably used by organized crime mafias around the world to communicate without their conversations are intercepted by the police, but which has recently been decrypted by experts from France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Among the 900 million unraveled messages, several appeared from a person who used the alias


and in which he spoke of the cache in Valencia, showing special interest in knowing if the loss of the cache had been the result of a police operation or theft from another organization. criminal.

The Civil Guard was able to identify this


as Ryan James Hale, a British drug trafficker linked to the Irish Kinahan clan, one of the most important drug trafficking mafia groups of which several members have been arrested in Spain.

Along with him, the person who used the alias


in those communications was also named.

It was Anthony Alfredo Martínez Meza, also based in Dubai, and who was allegedly in charge of supplying cocaine to the six drug lords, for which he chartered ships loaded with cocaine from the port of Manzanillo, in Panama.

From the conversations, the agents conclude that between them they could have introduced 10 tons of cocaine into Spain in the last two years.

The investigations revealed, however, that Spain was only one of the entry routes for the drug into Europe, and that the supercartel also introduced important shipments through the ports of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Antwerp (Belgium).

The Civil Guard assures in a note that the intention of the drug traffickers was to "flood" the continent with this drug, of which they controlled "a third of the total market, which makes the cartel a true 


in the world of global drug trafficking."

The arrests of the six drug lords, already coordinated by Europol, were carried out between November 8 and 19, when raids were unleashed in Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, which ended with the arrest of 49 people. (13 of them in Spain).

The raids in Spain have taken place in Malaga, Madrid and Barcelona, ​​where there were also 21 records.

In these, more than half a million euros in cash, three handguns and numerous luxury goods were seized.

In parallel, the Dubai police proceeded to arrest the six alleged leaders of the different plots.

In the case of Hale and Martínez Meza, at the request of the Spanish justice system.

At the request of the Dutch authorities, Gacanin and Belkhair were arrested.

The former is accused of participating in the attempt to introduce more than 2,500 kilos of cocaine and 7,800 of designer drugs into the Netherlands.

The second is linked to six caches discovered between October 2020 and February 2021 in this country that totaled nearly 2,000 kilos of cocaine.

The other last two drug lords arrested, Ajaray and Bourfa, were wanted by France and Belgium.

For all these reasons, the Civil Guard has described the operation on Monday as a "historic milestone" by considering the arrests in Dubai "an unprecedented event", which, in their opinion, is beginning to cease to be a "sanctuary" for organized crime.

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-11-28

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