Tanzanian drug barons nabbed in major narcotics crackdown in



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Tanzanian drug barons nabbed in major narcotics crackdown in Spain

By ThisDay Reporter & Agencies

8th February 2010

POLICE in Barcelona, Spain have busted an international drug trafficking gang after arresting 48 members, most of them hailing from Tanzania.

Media reports say the gang distributed cocaine, heroin, hashish and narcotic pills from Asia and South America across Europe. The reports claim further that the gang used drug mules to bring the drugs into Spain.

The gang is said to be controlled by a couple based in Santander, and that most of those arrested are from Tanzania. Spanish police started investigations in May 2008 after an Argentinian man was arrested at Barcelona airport with over a kilo of cocaine in 72 pellets in his stomach.

A total of 43.5 kilogrammes of cocaine, 5.8kg of heroin and an unspecified amount of hashish were seized in the operation, and authorities said the arrested suspects will be slapped with charges ranging from conspiracy, drug trafficking, smuggling, forgery, and usurpation of civil status.

Reports from that country say the gang appears to be an organized network of mostly Tanzanian nationals, with horizontal structures and cells acting independently but in coordinated fashion, united by ties of kinship and fellow vendors who had settled in Argentina, Brazil, Greece and Turkey.

The gang is said to have taken advantage of ‘people from their own country' and lured them with the promise of earning money, using them as mules to transport drugs hidden in their luggage or objects into Spain.

In August last year, the police arrested a member of the network as he was going to Valencia to carry out a transaction which involved half a kilo of heroin. Subsequently, the law enforcers arrested a Japanese man with 4.5 kilos of heroin in Barcelona.

And finally, in several homes in Barcelona the police arrested three people including the suspected head of the organization - a Tanzanian citizen - and a Spanish woman, both residents of Santander, from where they are believed to have led operations.
Contacted for comment late last week, the Deputy Director of Criminal Investigations in Tanzania, Peter Kivuyo said he was not aware of the reports but pledged to consult the international police (Interpol) for further details.

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