A ‘British drugs gang’ allegedly linked up with Colombian narcos to smuggle cocaine across Europe.
Detectives seized more than a tonne of cocaine and arrested a total of 16 people in England and Spain.
A British-led organisation is alleged to have joined forces with a Colombian crew, which smuggled the drugs into Spain, investigators said.
The arrests took place after the Colombians allegedly handed the cocaine over to the British men at a shopping centre in Leganes, south west of Madrid.
A spokesman for Spain’s National Police said: ‘National Police officers, in a joint operation with police and judicial authorities in the US, Colombia and Britain, have smashed two international drugs trafficking organisations.
‘Sixteen arrests have been made, nine in Madrid, two in Barcelona, two in Malaga and three in the UK.
‘More than a tonne of cocaine that was going to be distributed in Spain and Britain has been seized.
‘The two criminal organisations, one of Colombian origin and the other British, had joined forces to share logistics, although they kept their structures separate.
‘Officers discovered they were using sophisticated electro-mechanical systems to hide the cocaine in the vehicles they used to transport the drug.’
Police swooped on several targets after they discovered an unnamed British man worked with several people who were allegedly protecting a hired house in Villaviciosa de Odon near Madrid.
A UK representative was also allegedly spotted with the leader of the Colombian gang in the Galician city of Pontevedra, in Spain.
As well as a large amount of class-A drug seized in Madrid, nearly £90,000 in cash was confiscated along with more cocaine at the home of a driver, three pistols and dozens of phones.
The men were also accused of hiding drugs in a secret compartments inside cars in order to transport them.
Police added in a statement: ‘The suspects had designed a new system to hide the drugs, installed in a secret compartment in the boot and underneath the vehicle used to transport the cocaine, that was activated with a complex system of magnets.’
Britain’s National Crime Agency and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit, comprising police officers and staff drawn from the services of Thames Valley, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, were involved in the operation.
The UK arrests took place in London, Windsor and Dorset.
Additional reporting by Gerard Couzens.
Tonne of cocaine ‘to be sold in UK and Spain seized from British drugs gang’ – Metro.co.uk