Europol: Spanish police crack Europe´s biggest ‘narco bank’

Oct 13, 2022, 5:59 PM | Updated: Oct 14, 2022, 6:14 am

MADRID (AP) — The European Union police agency Europol said Friday that Spanish police have dismantled an organized crime group believed to have been running Europe’s biggest “narco-bank,” used to launder proceeds from international drug trafficking.

Europol said the group, composed mainly of Syrians, operated out of a restaurant in an industrial park in the central Spanish town of Fuenlabrada. There, customers could deposit or collect bulk cash and have their earnings laundered by the internationally structured financial network, Europol said.

Europol said the group provided financial services to crime gangs linked to drug trafficking in more than twenty countries across the world. Spanish police say it is believed to have laundered over 300 million euros ($290 million) each year since 2020.

The group used the so-called “hawala” system popular with criminal gangs and others to move large amounts of money without wire or other records.

Europol said 32 people were arrested in raids that took place Sept. 27. Spanish police said 11 people have been jailed, including the alleged ring leader and the group’s lawyer.

In all, police seized some 3 million euros ($2.9 million) in cash. They confiscated 11 luxury vehicles and quantities of hashish and marijuana. They also blocked 19 cryptocurrency accounts valued at 1.5 million euros ($1.45 million).

Europol said its support was central in the development of the Spanish investigation, by providing continuous intelligence development and analysis to map out the international activity of the network.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - The U.S. Capitol is seen on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Congress ...

Associated Press

Government shutdown averted with little time to spare as Biden signs funding before midnight

The threat of a federal government shutdown suddenly lifted late Saturday as President Joe Biden signed a temporary funding bill to keep agencies open with little time to spare after Congress rushed to approve the bipartisan deal.

3 hours ago

tupac shakur...

Rio Yamat and Ken Ritter

Man tied to suspected shooter in Tupac Shakur’s 1996 killing arrested

Tupac Shakur was gunned down when he was 25. He was in a BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight.

2 days ago

Former NFL football player Michael Oher, whose story became the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated...

Associated Press

Judge to end conservatorship between ex-NFL player Michael Oher, Tenn. couple

A Tennessee judge said Friday she is ending a conservatorship agreement between former NFL player Michael Oher and a Memphis couple who took him in when he was in high school.

2 days ago

BRAZIL - 2023/09/26: In this photo illustration, the Microsoft Bing logo is displayed on a laptop s...

Associated Press

Apple leverages idea of switching to Bing to pry more money out of Google, Microsoft exec says

Apple was never serious about replacing Google with Microsoft’s Bing as the default search engine in Macs and iPhones, but kept the possibility open as a "bargaining chip'' to extract bigger payments from Google

2 days ago

climate change...

Associated Press

2 lawsuits blame utility for eastern Washington fire that killed man and burned hundreds of homes

Two lawsuits have been filed against an electric utility for allegedly sparking a fire in eastern Washington that killed a man and burned approximately 240 homes.

3 days ago

Seattle non-profits...

Associated Press

Oregon man convicted of murder in fatal shooting of sheriff’s deputy in Washington state

A jury has convicted an Oregon man of murder in the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy in Washington state.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Europol: Spanish police crack Europe´s biggest ‘narco bank’