Police in Europe take down cocaine 'super cartel'
A drug "super cartel" that controlled about a third of Europe's cocaine supply has been dismantled, police have announced, News.az .reports citing Reuters.
Dubbed Operation Desert Light, 49 people were arrested across six European countries, the EU's police agency, Europol, said.
They included a British national, who is suspected of heading the operation.
Over 30 tonnes (30,000kg) of drugs were seized during the two-year-long investigation, Europol said.
Operation Desert Light saw authorities in Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) work together to bring down the cartel, Europol said in a statement.
Those arrested included six "high-value targets" - those most wanted by international police.
Europol said the "drugpins" had formed a "prolific criminal network involved in large-scale drugs trafficking and money laundering."
It added that the scale of the drug operation was "massive".
It is the latest in a series of police efforts to hack encrypted phones used by organised crime networks to traffic drugs and launder money.
Cocaine imported from South America via the Netherlands was the main focus of the investigation, and most of the arrests were made there in 2021.
The others were made earlier this month, between 8-19 November, during coordinated raids across the other six countries, Europol said.
A video posted to the agency's YouTube page showed teams of investigators and sniffer dogs searching homes filled with luxury cars, although it is unclear if any assets were seized during the arrests.