On Friday, Spanish police said they had broken up a criminal organization they consider the biggest backer of drug trafficking in Europe.
According to investigators, the gang is believed to have laundered roughly 300 million euros ($292 million) annually out of a restaurant in an industrial park outside of Madrid.
According to Europol’s findings, the criminal organization was the biggest in Europe, according to a Spanish police official.
In operations coordinated with Europol in several locations around Spain, police investigators confiscated 11 high-end automobiles, considerable amounts of cannabis, and cryptocurrency accounts totaling 1.5 million euros in addition to more than 400,000 euros in cash.
According to Europol, officers have totaled approximately 3 million euros in seizures during the investigation.
Police detained 32 persons on September 27 during coordinated operations in 21 different sites around Spain, including Malaga and Toledo.
The criminal organization, which started functioning in 2020 and was mostly made up of Syrian and Colombian citizens, served as an unofficial bank for drug trafficking organizations in more than 20 nations.
The “bank” utilized the “hawala” informal money transfer method, which is well-liked in the Middle East and does not necessitate the actual movement of money.
A ledger of credit and debit transactions is kept by hawala dealers in several places, allowing for the transfer of money between traders through a handshake, a piece of paper, or based on faith. According to the police, the network also transferred substantial money via cryptocurrency.
Each day, customers would come to the eatery in Fuenlabrada to pick up cash handled by Chinese nationals residing nearby, according to the police.