Spain’s Civil Guard and the Catalan regional police began an operation at 4am this morning against the Italian Camorra mafia in Barcelona. Around 20 arrests were made. The suspects are thought to have been laundering drug money via hostelry businesses, as well as through the purchase and sale of cars and jewelry.
During the investigation, the authorities seized 520 kilos of cocaine, and 450 kilos of hashish and marijuana. Spain’s central High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, has ordered assets worth €5 million to be frozen.
The detainees are accused of criminal organization, money laundering and drug trafficking
As well as the Spanish authorities, police in Italy and Germany have been working on the investigation, carrying out two and six searches, respectively. The detainees are accused of criminal organization, money laundering and drug trafficking, according to a statement released by the Spanish government.
Investigators believe that the suspects have been operating in a number of European countries, and as such the part of the operation outside of Spain has been coordinated by Eurojust, the European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit. The majority of the detainees are Italian, although there are also Spaniards, Colombians, Venezuelans and Chileans under arrest.
The Catalan capital is one of the preferred destinations for the mafia, which has historically chosen Barcelona as a place to live given its proximity to Italy and the fact that they can go unnoticed there. The Catalan coast has also historically been a place where mafias launder their ill-gotten gains.
English version by Simon Hunter.