Spanish National Police detain 60 people in an operation against money laundering from drug trafficking

Agents of the Spanish National Police have dismantled a criminal organization dedicated, allegedly, to laundering money from drug trafficking based on the island of Mallorca. The agents have detained, so far, 60 people -55 on the island and five in Madrid- for alleged crimes of money laundering and falsification of documents.

The “Gunpowder” operation began as a result of the investigation, carried out in Mallorca for a crime of drug trafficking, where it became known that the criminal organization, led by an individual of Cuban origin and nationalized from Spain, was diverting large amounts of money from drugs to foreign countries -mainly Cuba, although shipments to the Dominican Republic and the United States have also been detected- where they converted that money into movable and immovable property of a variety of nature, especially in homes and vehicles.

During the investigation, the agents carried out various operations against the organization and carried out various entries and searches in which nearly 400,000 euros in cash were intervened, as well as more than three kilos of cocaine and more than 60 kilos of drug substance. court, as well as a multitude of accessories and luxury items. 

They used the bank accounts of front men and phone booths to get the money out of Spain

To get the capital out of the country, the organization used different methods, the main ones being international bank transfers using front man accounts and money transfers through phone booths, in the latter case they did it in a fractional way and using identities of multiple people who were they lent to it in exchange for a commission. In this way, the criminal organization managed to hide both the criminal origin of the capital and the true identity of the issuers, endowing these financial movements with a final appearance of legitimacy.

To carry out money laundering within our country, the leader of the criminal organization used the identity of elderly people to build shell companies, devoid of activity, which allowed him to simulate that the members of the criminal organization carried out jobs in the construction sector. 

Crime of documentary falsification

Based on this fictitious business network, some of the detainees have been charged with a crime of document falsification for the elaboration of false invoices in order to mask the origin of the illicit money that was invoiced, simulating work carried out in the world of construction . Two Mallorcan companies have allegedly been involved in these events, whose representatives collaborated with the leader of the criminal organization to achieve the introduction into the legal financial channel of those capital obtained from drug trafficking, having come to bill about 200,000 euros for jobs not performed.

Spanish people and companies were also used to whom they sent transfers of different amounts, for which they even used bank accounts located in tax havens, simulating nonexistent operations and businesses, and later the beneficiaries of those transfers were in charge of delivering that money in cash or transformed into goods to the collaborators of the organization residing in Cuba.

It is estimated that the money laundered amounts to one million euros

In this way, the investigators have been able to prove that, in just over a year, the criminal organization has managed to launder about one million euros from illicit drug trafficking, although it is believed that this amount may be considerably higher. In this sense, the National Police and the Spanish authorities are in a phase of collaboration with the American and Cuban authorities in order to obtain the maximum possible information and to be able to act against the foreign ramifications of this criminal organization.

So far, 55 arrests have been made on the island of Mallorca, among which are both the main members of the criminal organization and other people who have actively collaborated to divert illicit funds to foreign countries, as well as other 5 arrests of collaborating people residing in Madrid.

The investigation is still open so new arrests are not ruled out.