A British national believed to be a major international drug trafficker has been extradited to France after being apprehended on a European Arrest Warrant in the Costa del Sol.
The operation leading to the arrest of the suspect on 12 November was a result of a two year investigation between the French OCRTIS-DCPJ1, Spanish Guardia Civil UCO2 and the UK National Crime Agency (NCA), supported by Europol and Eurojust.
The individual is wanted for his alleged involvement in the trafficking of 1.3 tonnes of cocaine, with a street value of EUR 200 million, which was seized by the French OCRTIS in September 2013. The drugs were hidden in suitcases that had been transported on a French aircraft flying from Caracas, Venezuela, to the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. Several British and Italian nationals were arrested in France following the seizure.
For the last two years, Europol has provided support to major drug trafficking investigations across the EU (e.g. the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom) into the criminal group believed to be headed by this individual.
Huge amounts of data from national law enforcement agencies were processed and cross-checked against Europol’s databases. Investigators were provided with numerous analytical reports and on-the-spot support through the deployment of Europol mobile offices.
During an extensive investigation carried out by Guardia Civil, more than EUR 950 000 in cash was seized.
The NCA has also targeted UK nationals suspected of being connected to the suspect. In July 2014, intelligence shared between the NCA and Portuguese authorities led to the seizure of 167 kg of cocaine in Portugal. The cocaine had been transported from South America on board a yacht, ‘Gloria of Grenada’. The crew from the vessel and others were arrested and recently convicted in Lisbon.
Furthermore, following a joint investigation between Spain and Italy, connections were discovered between the criminal group in question and the Italian mafia. That investigation was concluded in July 2014, with the arrest of 32 individuals in Spain and 4 in Italy, and the confiscation of EUR 1.3 million in cash and 40 properties in Spain worth EUR 8 million.
1. Office Central pour la Répression du Traffic Illicite des Stupéfiants – Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire.
2. Unidad Central Operativa – Guardia Civil.