Agents of the National Police have carried out a joint investigation with the Italian Guardia di Finanza, the Colombian National Police and the North American Department of Internal Security Investigations (HSI), in which more than four tons of cocaine have been intervened in Italy that were going to be distributed to different European countries, including Spain. The operation, carried out in several phases, has ended with the dismantling of the four criminal organizations responsible for the reception and distribution of drugs, and with the arrest of 24 individuals – 11 of them in Italy and 13 between Colombia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands. The researchers have carried out 26 searches, in Colombia and different European countries, in which about 2,000,000 euros in cash, 15 high-end vehicles and numerous encrypted communications systems have been involved.
The investigation began in April 2021 when, thanks to international cooperation mechanisms, the Italian Guardia di Finanza, the Colombian National Police and the US HSI requested the collaboration of our agents in relation to a shipment of 4,300 kilos of cocaine. The drug had been seized in Colombia destined for Trieste (Italy), from where it would allegedly be distributed to other Schengen area countries.
With the progress of the investigations, the investigators found the existence of four criminal groups in charge of receiving the entire narcotic substance once it was on European territory, and then sold to third organizations. They also identified their members and found that they were based in different locations in Italy.
Drug arrests and arrests in Italy, in various phases
The operation has been carried out in various phases that have made it possible to seize and arrest the members of each of the four organizations responsible for the reception and distribution of the drug.
The first arrest occurred in May 2021, when investigators intervened 100 kilos of cocaine in Italy and arrested two members – an Italian citizen and a Colombian citizen – of one of one of the criminal groups in charge of receiving part of the stash. A month later, a Moldovan citizen, a member of the same organization, was arrested and 35 kilos of cocaine were seized in the Italian city of Venice.
After a few months (in November 2021), the agents seized 300 kilos of cocaine in Verona (Italy), arresting another of those investigated, and intervened another 400 kilos of cocaine from an Albanian citizen. At that time, they also managed to arrest four individuals between the Italian cities of Trieste and Verona who carried 150 kilos of narcotic substance.
Thanks to international police cooperation, 600 kilos of cocaine were seized in Rome in January 2022. As a result of this operation, two people were arrested (an Italian citizen and one Bulgarian citizen), who belonged to one of the organizations that was going to receive part of the drug. The last seizure took place last May; on this occasion 167 kilos of cocaine were seized and two other individuals were arrested.
13 more detainees in Colombia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and the Netherlands
As a result of cocaine seizures and arrests in Italy, 13 other people were arrested in Colombia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands for their alleged membership in various criminal organizations involved in the 4,300 kilos of narcotic substance. In addition, a total of 26 searches have been carried out in homes and warehouses, in Colombia and in different European countries, as a result of which almost 2,000,000 euros have been intervened in cash, 15 high-end vehicles – 3 trucks, 5 vans and 7 passenger cars – and encrypted communications systems.