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Officers and customs official arrested in OCG drugs corruption operation

Europol operation discovers OCG paid police and Customs to make sure cocaine shipments were not intercepted

Six Spanish police officers and one Customs officers have been arrested following a sting operation involving Europol and local law enforcement agencies to dismantle an OCG shipping hundreds of millions of euros’ worth of cocaine and hashish into Western Europe.

Europol alleges that corrupt law enforcement and customs officers were paid by the OCG to make sure that the drugs were not intercepted as they were smuggled in the Spanish port of Algeciras

Five officers from the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil), one from the National Police (Policia Nacional)  and one from customs were identified thanks to the collaboration with Europol and Eurojust it added.  

They were among 61 individuals who were arrested following an 18-month long investigation into two criminal gangs, known as ‘Clan de Tanger’ and ‘Clan del Sur’, who are believed to have smuggled over 16 tonnes of cocaine and 150 tonnes of hashish via the Strait of Gibraltar into Spain for further distribution across Europe.  

The drugs were hidden among shipments of tomatoes, watermelons and melons. The dismantled OCG is considered to be the most active network operating around the Port of Algeciras.  

The Spanish authorities conducted 34 raids which led to:

The arrest of 61 individuals, including 7 under European Arrest Warrants issued by other countries;
The seizure of 26 properties valued at over EUR 3 million;
The seizure of 17 vehicles valued at over EUR 400 000;
The seizure in cash of over EUR 1 million;
The seizure of over 83 tonnes of hashish and 9 tonnes of cocaine. 

Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre supported the investigation by providing actionable intelligence and analytical support. On 11 May 2022, two Europol teams were deployed to Spain on the action day to facilitate the extensive exchange of information and provide forensic support for the seized electronic devices. 

In its 2021 Serious Organised Crime Threat Assessment, Europol highlighted that over 60 % of criminal groups in the EU engage in corruption.

Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre has set up a dedicated team of experts – known as Analysis Project Corruption – to target this. 

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