Largest Cocaine Laboratory in Europe Dismantled in Madrid

Largest Cocaine Laboratory in Europe Dismantled in Madrid
The police have arrested 25 people and seized 300 kilograms of the drug, two tons of chemical products, and a large amount of money
El País: Desmantelado en Madrid el mayor laboratorio de cocaína de Europa
Jesús Duva, reporting from Madrid, January 18, 2011

Spanish Police Officer Checks Material Confiscated from Cocaine Lab
A police officer checks material seized in the raid in an image provided by the National Police.

On January 7, the National Police’s Special Operations Group (GEO) assaulted the building which they consider the most largest secret cocaine laboratory discovered in Spain, leading to the arrest of the five people who had lived there for a few weeks (a Spaniard and four Colombians). The Colombians were supposedly hired to install technical equipment in the laboratory. The Spaniard was the custodian of the building. The installation, which was ready to initiate its activity and whose location had been protected by all kinds of security, had more than thirty tons of chemical products to use as precursors. More than thirty people have been arrested in this operation and a parallel one against money laundering by the group.

Operation Collapse, initiated two years ago by Group 32 of the Central Narcotics Brigade, has led to the dismantling of an organization of cocaine traffickers who had set up a network in the cities of Villanueva de Perales, Valdemorillo, and Madrid. The investigations were made in addition to others by the Specialized and Violent Crime Unit, the Provincial Brigade of the Judicial Police of Madrid, and the Special Response to Organized Crime Group (GRECO).

As a result of the investigation, they could affirm the link between the brothers Néstor Mario and Carlos Mauricio Gutiérrez Ramírez, both of Colombian origin, with large-scale cocaine trafficking and with different groups of distributors based in Madrid. Presumably in tandem with them were the Spaniards David Vela Narro and Ana María Cameno Antolín, this last with an alleged fixation with Santería, such that he made several decisions only after consulting with Santeros (priests of that religion).

The processing laboratory for cocaine paste in Villanueva de Perales (Madrid) had a complex infrastructure of security floors and hiding places and caches such as closets with false floors which could only be activated with certain mechanisms, according to police sources.

Another indication of the professionalism and preparation of those responsible for the organization is the employment of “escorts” which continuously guarded them, along with the use of directional microphones and glasses with lenses covered with black insulating tape, doubtless employed so that the people transported to safe houses by the leaders couldn’t learn its location. In addition, the group had 470 mobile phones connected with two of its ringleaders.

Apart from the building in the Madrid neighborhood of Villanueva de Perales, the police have registered a house on 29 Fuente Empedrada Street in Sevilla la Nueva (Madrid) and a flat on 4 José Donoso, Madrid, in which the agents found various firearms and more than a million euros.

For its part, the Specialized and Violent Crime Unit, along with the Tax Agency, have detained two Madrid lawyers who were supposedly helping the traffickers launder money. In this investigation, which is sub judice, a lawyer with the initials RRC, previously the object of a political and judicial investigation for his presumed relationship with some very important narcotraffickers, has been arrested, according to police sources.

Seventeen people have been arrested in the operation undertaken by the Specialized and Violent Crime Unit, including the Madrileño lawyer Roberto Rodríguez Casas and the businessman Lauro Sánchez Serrano, who is the proprietor of a restaurant, a cocktail bar, and a gymnasium, according to sources in the investigation. He had intended to bring two loads of cocaine to Spain from Venezuela, but this operation failed. Thus he supposedly came into contact with Ana María Cameno, one of the presumed architects of the cocaine lab, and offered his leisure sites as places for her to distribute her merchandise.

In addition, Lauro Sánchez was in contact with the brothers Raúl and David Suarez Smith, proprietors of a repair shop in Paracuellos del Jarama (Madrid) which at that time had an extensive framework for drug distribution, fundamentally in hashish but also in cocaine, according to the same informants.

The lawyer Rodríguez Casas, who has been arrested for his alleged relationship with money laundering, was investigated years ago for his presumed involvement in other shady business. The police have audited numerous bank accounts under the suspicion that they formed part of the network used by these organizations to launder their profits.

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