A gang that introduced drugs hidden in concrete blocks through the port of Barcelona falls | Catalonia

Port of Barcelona, ​​through which between 3,000 and 4,000 trucks pass daily for loading and unloading of containers.
Port of Barcelona, ​​through which between 3,000 and 4,000 trucks pass daily for loading and unloading of containers.Rasmus Jurkatam ((Getty Images))

A criminal organization that allegedly introduced large quantities of drugs hidden in concrete blocks through the port of Barcelona fell on Tuesday in an operation by several police forces carried out at different points nationally and internationally. The organization, based in Spain and the Netherlands, and linked to the Mexican Beltrán Leyva cartel, has been intervened in the Dutch country, according to a statement from the National Police, with a large number of cristal meth, a type of methamphetamine. The investigation had lasted for three years and has concluded with the arrest of 16 people “throughout the entire process,” according to police sources. This in addition to the dismantling of the main route of introduction of drugs by this organization in Europe, which was the port of Barcelona.

Those responsible controlled “a novel way to introduce drugs,” according to the National Police, which consisted of creating hidden rooms in concrete blocks for construction, which made the mechanism for port controls “undetectable”. In addition to the 2,549 kilograms of methamphetamine, 1,370 kilograms of cocaine and 17,000 liters of chemical products for the production of narcotic drugs have also been seized. The operation, in which agents of the National Police, the Civil Guard, Europol, as well as the Tax Agency have intervened, has been carried out both in the Catalan capital and in Tarragona; the Toledo town of Talavera de la Reina; Valencia; and also in the Netherlands and Turkey.

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The investigation began in 2017. The agents began to follow a company based in Mexico on suspicion that it was introducing “significant amounts of narcotic substance” into Europe through Spain. The company, also based in Barcelona, ​​used the port of the Catalan capital for its commercial activities, according to the statement: “All this was coordinated by a citizen with Spanish and Mexican nationality living in Spain and who was also the main person in charge of the Mexican cartel ”in Spain.

The company, says the National Police, “would be at the disposal” of the Beltrán Leyva cartel; and they took advantage of the infrastructure of their international trade operations “coming from South and Central America” to monopolize the European market for narcotic substances. In 2019, the Dutch police intervened a large quantity of drugs and chemicals in a Rotterdam warehouse for its production. These came from a company based in Spain. According to the statement, the company transported the drug “on behalf” of the Mexican cartel.

There have been various local interventions in recent years, but the “upper part” of the criminal organization still had to be dismantled. From the Netherlands they continued to control their investments, in addition to maintaining money laundering from drug trafficking. Spanish and Dutch agents traveled to both countries and twelve searches were carried out simultaneously, in which eight people were arrested: one in Spain and seven and the Netherlands. Three luxury properties were seized in the latter country, in addition to intervening eight high-end vehicles and blocking nine bank accounts. At this point, it was only pending to determine the structure of money laundering.

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“A complex business network”

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Bank movements with origin or destination in Mexico for large amounts were credited. It was also certified that this money was received by members of the Beltrán Leyva cartel, according to the statement. It was then detected that the funds were moving with the collaboration of Spanish businessmen living in Talavera de la Reina and Valencia. They had designed “a complex business network” to launder drug money.

The companies in Spain that received the concrete blocks also tried to sell those that did not carry narcotic substances to construction companies. Precast concrete blocks are not a widely used material for construction in Spain, which is why the market for this material “was extremely difficult.” The businessmen also covered the criminal organization by renting properties to store the blocks that did not contain drugs inside. In this way, the structure of money laundering was separated from that of drug trafficking in the event of a police intervention. This was the case, for example, in Madrid and Toledo, where large quantities of concrete blocks were found that the organization had in storage. It was about creating “safe channels” for imports.

However, money laundering could be detected by following the large amounts of money that, from the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, were transferred to Mexico through the bank accounts of Spanish companies, according to the National Police. The funds, “which in all probability were the product of drug trafficking”, could not prove their commercial origin when entering the Spanish financial system.

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The investigation has concluded with the intervention of incriminating documents, various electronic effects and four long firearms; in addition to the arrest in the Netherlands of two investigated from the top of the criminal organization, according to sources from the National Police.

14 people arrested in Catalonia in an operation against drug trafficking

The noise of a helicopter has awakened many in Barcelona during the early hours of this Tuesday. The Civil Guard later confirmed to this newspaper that it was part of an ongoing lawsuit against drug trafficking. So far, the body has detained 14 people in Barcelona within the framework of a device directed by a court in Cádiz. There have been 12 simultaneous entries and searches in the Avinguda del Paralelo area, as well as in Cedanyola del Vallès (Barcelona) and in Cádiz itself. The Central Operational Unit, which is part of the Civil Guard judicial police, participated in the operation.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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