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In a major international operation against Albanian organized crime, police in Ecuador and Spain have arrested at least 30 individuals.

The coordinated effort involved prosecutors from both countries executing 57 raids across six provinces in Ecuador and in four cities in Spain, targeting alleged money laundering and drug trafficking activities.


The Ecuadorean attorney general’s office announced the arrests on social media, stating, “The operation was carried out in collaboration with the attorney general’s office in Spain (where 12 of the arrests were made and 450,000 euros were seized) with 45 prosecutors participating with their support staff.” In total, approximately $483,000 was confiscated during the raids, alongside the discovery of cash, firearms, and the seizure of property and vehicles. Those arrested were from various countries, including Colombia, Argentina, China, Spain, Ecuador, and Albania, with the alleged ringleader being an Albanian citizen.

According to William Villarroel, head of Ecuador’s anti-narcotics police, the criminal network was involved in smuggling cocaine from Colombia to Tulcan, a border city in Ecuador, and then distributing it to various collection centers within the country. The narcotics were then concealed within banana export containers destined for Europe. He said, “The organization had privileged information on foreign trade documents and some of its members had connections to Ecuadorean exporters.”

According to Villarroel, the group also operated six companies in Ecuador and four in Spain, engaging in extensive commercial activities that facilitated money laundering, with questionable transactions amounting to $32 million.


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