By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 15 December 2021 • 17:47
A drug bust in the port of Rotterdam in 2019 led to a number of follow up operations being carried out in Spain by the Guardia Civil, the National Police and the Tax Agency. The investigation has resulted in the identification of a Valencian businessman who laundered money for a Mexican cartel.
The original case resulted in two and a half tonnes of metamorphine being confiscated and 17,000 litres of chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process. Information obtained by authorities in Rotterdam about a Mexican cartel heir from the Beltrán Leyva clan, was shared with authorities in Spain and ultimately lead to the raids this week.
The raids which took place in Barcelona resulted in the arrest of 16 people, including a Valencian businessman who is alleged to have laundered the money resulting from the sale of drugs. Nine bank accounts have been blocked as a result plus properties and assets have been seized both locally and in the Netherlands.
Known as Operation Eboli-Bacterium, the shipments that were confiscated in Amsterdam originated in Barcelona, where they had been billed by a local firm.
Investigations into the local firm revealed that behind the operations was the representative for Europe of one of the groups of the former Beltrán Leyva cartel. The firm, Sant Boí de Llobregat was supposedly dedicated to the importation of cellular thermal concrete blocks produced in Mexico.
The drugs were hidden in the centre of a third of the concrete blocks, the cocaine pills being put in through a small hole. The method used proved infallible for a while as the block construction makes scanning impossible, with the concrete type producing millions of air bubbles. The scanners used by port authorities are unable to see through the air bubbles.
Had it not been for the raid in the Port of Rotterdam, Spanish authorities would not have been aware of the block’s contents.
Tracing the money laundering proved very complex with a financial and commercial network that moved large sums of money from the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong. The funds were then cascaded through a number of accounts before being distributed.
The news that the police have arrested a Valencian businessman who laundered money for a Mexican cartel is testament to the value of cross border police operations.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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