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Brazil police break up global drug ring in mega-raid

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil   /   Wed, August 19, 2020   /   01:15 pm
Brazil police break up global drug ring in mega-raid This photo grabbed from an undated video handout on July 1, 2020 by the Naples branch of the Italian Guardia di Finanza law enforcement agency shows a Guardia di Finanza investigator taking part in a record seizure of 14 tons of amphetamines, in the form of 84 million captagon tablets produced in Syria by the Islamic State (IS) Group, hidden in three containers found in the port of Salerno, just south of Naples.Federal police in Brazil said Tuesday they were cracking down on an international network of drug traffickers with a mega-operation targeting cocaine smuggling between South America and Europe. (Handout/Guardia di Finanza press office/AFP/-)

Federal police in Brazil said Tuesday they were cracking down on an international network of drug traffickers with a mega-operation targeting cocaine smuggling between South America and Europe.

Police said they were arresting 50 people and seizing seven planes, five helicopters, 42 trucks and 35 properties linked to suspects accused of trafficking tons of cocaine to Europe and within Brazil.

The raids were carried out across 13 Brazilian states following an investigation launched in 2018 together with Britain's National Crime Agency, police said in a statement.

The authorities have also frozen 100 million reals ($18.3 million) in assets as part of the operation, it said.

Police said the raids targeted four connected organizations that were responsible for smuggling cocaine into Brazil across the Paraguayan border; selling it within Brazil, in Europe and in Cape Verde; providing logistics and transportation; and laundering the proceeds.

More than 600 police took part in the raids.

Authorities had already arrested 12 people and seized more than 11 tons of cocaine in the course of the investigation, police said.

The network continued trafficking drugs even during lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Police said they had seized 1.5 tons of cocaine from March 20 to July 20.