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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Europol A Europol issued picture shows one of the raids.
Organised Crime

Europe wide operation targets drug cartel with six arrests in Dubai

Europol announced this morning that 49 suspects across Europe and the United Arab Emirates have been arrested.

EUROPEAN POLICE FORCES have worked with Dubai police to arrest dozens of suspects as part of dismantling operation of a European drugs cartel. 

Europol announced this morning that 49 suspects across Europe and the United Arab Emirates have been arrested. 

The raids between 8-19 November also saw agents from the US Drugs Enforcement Agency participating. 

In a statement Europol said: “The drugpins considered as high-value targets by Europol had come together to form what was known as a ‘super cartel’ which controlled around one third of the cocaine trade in Europe.

“These arrests are the culmination of parallel investigations run in Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UAE with the support of Europol into the activities of this prolific criminal network involved in large-scale drugs trafficking and money laundering.”

Europol said that the scale of cocaine importation into Europe under the suspects’ control and command was massive with more than 30 tonnes of drugs were seized by law enforcement over the course of the investigations.

The European police force said that the operations were intelligence led which helped them specifically target the cartel’s operations in Europe and beyond.

It said the main targets, who used encrypted services to organise the shipments, appear to have been targeted by monitoring their communications.

Screenshot 2022-11-28 12.24.36 Europol Europol

Europol said the process has taken them two years to bring together the different countries working on the same targets to establish a joint strategy to bring down the whole network.

As the raids were launched Europol then provided analysis facilities and real-time co-ordination among all the partner countries. They also provided a team of legal experts to smooth the arrest of suspects. 

Europol established a direct connection between their operative and the UAE police to target the gangs – in September appointed a liaison officer based in the Netherlands.

“A liaison officer from the Ministry of Interior of the UAE has already joined the network of more than 250 liaison officers from over 50 countries and organisations with a permanent representation at Europol.

“This unique approach to international police cooperation has positioned Europol as the place where crucial intelligence emerges with law enforcement from countries across the world working side by side to fight the most dangerous criminal networks,” the organisation said. 

Members of the Kinahan Organised Crime Group are said to be in hiding in the UAE.

There is no mention of Ireland in the statement however officers from Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, US and the UAE were involved. 

There were 13 arrests in Spain, France saw six arrests, Belgium had ten detentions and 14 were arrested in The Netherlands.

There were a total of six arrests in Dubai of suspects with connections to Spain, France and the Netherlands. 

Meanwhile Ireland was involved, along with 27 other countries, in a Europol operation targeting counterfeiting and online piracy gangs. 

The investigation focused on intellectual property infringement on trademarks, as well as on copyrighted content available on internet protocol television (IPTV) and movie streaming services.

The searches were carried out from 1 May to 14 November and Europol said that more counterfeit products are being assembled within the European Union’s borders. It also found that intellectual property crime is “closely intertwined” with organised crime.