By Julia Cameron • 12 May 2023 • 12:27
Cocaine and money in drug dealing.
Credit: Jens Rother/Shutterstock.com
The Guardia Civil in Spain and the Antwerp local police have been working together in an effort to target criminal gangs working in both countries.
The first criminal network was based in Antwerp where members of the same family were suspected of money laundering and drug trafficking said a press release from Europol.
The family were already known to the police for other criminal activity including burglaries, money counterfeiting and firearms dealing.
The investigation in Antwerp began in April 2022 when it was discovered that a restaurant in Deurne, Antwerp was operating as a cover for drug dealing.
It was a popular meeting place with the criminal fraternity and the staff composed of family and others working for the criminal organisation.
The suspects, in this case, were mainly Belgian, Albanian or from Kosovo in the Balkans.
This organisation was then found to have close contact with a second criminal organisation run by a Spanish national in the Belgian town of Siint-Gillis Waas. The gang were involved in the importation of hashish from Spain and the removal of cocaine shipments through Antwerp harbour.
The relatives of the Spanish national were also involved with money laundering in Almeria and Granada, some of which were laundered through legal companies and estate agency businesses across Spain, Belgium, Albania and Kosovo.
In order to avoid police detection, the gang used fake documents, falsely registered vehicles, and encrypted communication devices.
The police intervention which took place on May 10 included the seizure of drugs, money, watches, forged documents, vehicles, and mobile phones, as well as the closing down of the family restaurant in Antwerp.
In total, there were 33 arrests in Belgium, seven house searches in Spain and 35 house searches in Belgium.
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Julia is an ex-pat writer from Brighton living in a small village close to the Andalucian town of Priego de Cordoba. When she's not working she enjoys reading, tracing her ancestry and swimming. She especially loves the summer when she can get down to the coast and chill on the beach.
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