Transnational Anti-Drug Operation Nets 21 Suspects Across Italy and Colombia, Linked to ELN Cocaine Trade
A joint operation involving the Italian Financial Guard, Colombian Police, United States National Security Investigations Agency, and the Spanish Civil Guard has led to the apprehension of 21 individuals in both Italy and Colombia involved in drug trafficking activities. The operation resulted in the confiscation of 700 kilograms of cocaine associated with the National Liberation Army (ELN).
(Read Also: Guerrilla Movements in Colombia: FARC and ELN)
The Italian Financial Guard has clarified that today’s operation resulted in 14 new arrests, complementing the 7 apprehensions made in recent days. The investigation primarily focused on the illicit activities of the Colombian armed organization, ELN, whose criminal interests extend into the drug market, spanning across the United States and Europe. This information was provided in an official press release.
In addition to the drugs, whose purchase value for the organizations is around 15.5 million euros, approximately 700,000 euros in cash and eight vehicles were also seized. The drugs would have contributed between 70 and 80 million euros in the final market.
Trieste Financial Guard’s Drug Seizure Leads to Ongoing Investigations and Today’s Operation
One year ago, the Financial Guard of Trieste in the north seized 4.3 tons of the same drug and apprehended 38 individuals, including members of the Colombian Gulf clan. Subsequent investigations stemming from this operation have now led to the one conducted today.
These investigations revealed that, apart from the cartel’s representatives, various identified criminal groups involved in drug purchases had been organized. These organizations had origins in France and Morocco, and they were connected to significant entities within the ‘Ndrangheta (the Calabrian mafia, in southern Italy) and the Camorra (the Naples mafia). These criminal networks operated within the Italian regions of Lombardy, Campania, and Calabria.
Undercover Agents Crucial in Unraveling Drug Trafficking Networks
The success of the operation can be attributed to the critical role played by undercover agents who infiltrated the organizational hierarchies responsible for storing and wholesaling the narcotics. Their mission was to reconstruct the links between South American producers and the buyers within Italian territory, as well as the connections between these parties and various intermediaries, as stated in the official report.
Subscribe to BNN Breaking
Sign up for our daily newsletter covering global breaking news around the world.