On 18 July 2023, a fugitive wanted by the Netherlands has been arrested in Tulua, Colombia, following a complex intelligence-led investigation spanning across four countries.
The suspect, a Colombian national, is believed to have been coordinated cocaine and methamphetamine production in the Netherlands for Mexican cartels. The suspect is also associated with the import of large amounts of cocaine and with various drug labs in the Netherlands.
The 43 year-old man, who was arrested on a Dutch arrest warrant, is now in custody awaiting his extradition to the Netherlands.
The Dutch-led investigation was able to tie this suspect to a seizure of 2.5 tonnes of methamphetamine in 2019. He is also associated with laundering large amounts of money. A total of EUR 20 million transferred from the Netherlands to Mexico and Colombia have been linked to him.
Europol’s support was instrumental in the success of this case
In the framework of its work on encrypted criminal communications, Europol developed intelligence on Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking organisations active in Europe. These criminal networks had up to then operated mostly under the radar of law enforcement. Europol’s analysis helped identify the key targets in Europe and Latin America, alongside cocaine and methamphetamine production facilities scattered across Europe.
Europol organised a number coordination meetings in order to bring together all the involved countries to develop a joint strategy to bring down these networks.
Over the course of the investigation, several drug labs were dismantled in Europe, and over 50 suspects arrested.
The Colombian suspect was on the run, with law enforcement across the world working together to locate him and bring him to justice.
Europol deployed one of its experts to Colombia and funded the deployment of a Dutch investigator to assist the national authorities with his arrest. Colombia also deployed three investigators to Europol’s headquarters to work jointly on this case with Europol and their counterparts in EU Member States.
The following authorities took part in this operation:
The Netherlands: Dutch National Police (Politie)
Spain: National Police (Policía Nacional) and Civil Guard (Guardia Civil)
Colombia: National Police (Policía Nacional de Colombia)
United States: US Drug Enforcement Administration (US DEA)
Europol: European Serious Organised Crime Centre (ESOCC)