Illegal network used crypto-currencies and credit cards to launder more than EUR 8 million from drug trafficking

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April 9 2018

Operation Tulipan Blanca, coordinated by Europol and conducted by the Spanish Guardia Civil with the support of the Finnish authorities and Homeland Security Investigation of US, has seen 11 arrests and 137 individuals investigated. Members of a crime ring laundered money earned by other organised crime groups, who made their money selling drugs, by using credit cards and cryptocurrencies.

The criminals based in Spain were contacted by drug traffickers to launder money obtained from their illegal activities. They picked up the illicit proceeds in cash, which were then split into small quantities to be deposited into hundreds of third bank accounts – a criminal method known as smurfing. As the cash was already circulating in the financial system, the ring just needed to transfer the criminal money back to the drug dealers in Colombia.