Two suspected members of a criminal organization arming criminal organizations across the world have been arrested in Spain with Europol’s support.
The two suspects were arrested at their homes in Barcelona and El Masnou on April 20. Seven other members of the same criminal organization had already been arrested in November 2020. The analysis of the evidence gathered then during the house searches led to the identification of the suspects arrested in the province of Barcelona this month.
The criminal syndicate, operating mostly from Spain, has been under investigation since 2018. They illegally transported weapons and explosives across the Mediterranean to conflict zones subject to international embargoes in North Africa and the Middle East. Their illegal cargo included heavy armaments, such as tanks, and explosive precursors used by terrorists to manufacture improvised explosive devices.
The criminal proceeds were then injected into the legal economy through different money laundering schemes, before being sent to Spain where the criminals invested in real estate and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle.
Spain’s National Police and Tax Authority as well as the Regional Catalan Police were involved in the investigation which was conducted in close cooperation with Europol’s European Serious Organised Crime Centre, which provided continuous intelligence development and analysis to support the Spanish investigators. A Europol Mobile Office was also deployed to Barcelona.
The evidence seized during the action day in Barcelona is now being analyzed to identify further investigative leads across Europe.