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Spain busts drug ring led by British ex-marine

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 24 May, 2021 Updated Mon 24 May 2021 12:43 CEST
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Members of the National Police force and Guardia Civil stand on a boat on the port of Cadiz on September 12, 2013 in Cadiz. A joint operation combining the National Police, Guardia Civil and the Spanish tax office, intercepted a sailboat on the Atlantic loaded with 800 kilograms of cocaine. In addition to the drugs several vehicles, a catamaran, a pistol, and cash were confiscated during the raid. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO (Photo by Jorge Guerrero / AFP)

Spanish police said Monday they had broken up a hashish smuggling ring with the arrest of 10 people including its suspected leader, a former British marine.

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Officers arrested the suspects last week in the southern provinces of Cádiz and Málaga as well as in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta, the National Police said in a statement.

Among those arrested was the alleged leader of the ring, a former British Royal Navy marine "with extensive nautical knowledge" who is suspected of transporting the drugs by sea.

The unidentified man, who lived in a "luxury complex" in Cádiz, had "ties with criminal organisations in European nations such as Britain and Ukraine," where the ring sent its drugs.

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He owned several firms which allegedly sold and rented boats that he used to transport the hashish as well as shell companies to launder the money earned from drug smuggling, police said.

Police seized a sailboat and two yachts as well as 1.6 tonnes of hashish as part of the operation, which was carried out in cooperation with Britain'sNational Crime Agency.

Spain's close ties with its former colonies in Latin America, a major cocaine-producing region, and its proximity to Morocco, a major hashish
producer, have made it a key entry point for drugs bound for Europe.

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