Police dismantled a huge drug smuggling network that controls a third of the cocaine trade in Europe and arrested 49 suspects from different countries, including six considered important targets in Dubai, Europol announced yesterday.

The European Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation said in a statement that as part of the huge international operation, 30 tons of drugs were seized, while suspects were arrested in France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, reports a local Arabic daily quoting AFP.

“Drug traffickers whom Europol considers important targets came together to form what is known as a ‘huge cartel’ that controlled about a third of the cocaine trade in Europe,” the statement said.

He added, “The volume of cocaine importation into Europe under the supervision and leadership of the suspects was enormous, and law enforcement agencies confiscated more than 30 tons during the investigation period.”

And the agency stated that “Dubai arrested two very important suspects linked to the Netherlands, in addition to two people linked to Spain and others linked to France.”

“One of the two Dutch suspects is very important,” a Europol source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Thirteen people were arrested in Spain, six in France and 10 in Belgium, while 14 people were arrested in 2021 in the Netherlands as part of the same process, according to the statement.

Prosecutors in the Netherlands stated that they would request the extradition of the suspects from the United Arab Emirates.

One of the suspects is a 37-year-old person with dual Dutch and Moroccan nationalities, who was arrested on suspicion of importing thousands of kilograms of cocaine to the Netherlands in 2020 and 2021.

“These are serious criminal offenses linked to international drug trafficking, especially from South America through the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam,” the public prosecutor in the Netherlands said in a statement.

As for another suspect, he is a person in his forties who holds dual Dutch and Bosnian nationalities, according to AFP.

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