Greater than 100 individuals have been arrested in Spain and Italy following a joint investigation into cash laundering.
The sting focused an Italian mafia gang on the Spanish island of Tenerife, who’re accused of laundering greater than €10 million.
The group is alleged to have made its cash by a variety of on-line scams in a number of European nations.
The police operation — supported by Europol — led to the arrests of 106 individuals, authorities mentioned on Monday.
Many of the suspects have been Italian nationals who have been detained within the Canary Islands, Europol mentioned in a assertion.
These arrested have been accused of a wide range of prices together with fraud, drug trafficking, cash laundering, kidnapping, theft, and unlawful possession of weapons.
Two of the suspects already had European Arrest Warrants for drug trafficking and theft offenses.
The group tricked their victims — principally Italian residents — into sending giant sums of cash into financial institution accounts that they managed.
They then laundered by a large community of cryptocurrencies or reinvested it in different felony actions, reminiscent of prostitution, medicine, and arms trafficking, in line with Italian police.
“The suspects defrauded lots of of victims by phishing assaults and different forms of on-line fraud reminiscent of SIM swapping and enterprise electronic mail compromise,” mentioned Europol.
“Final yr alone, the unlawful revenue is estimated at about €10 million,” the authority added.
Police carried out 18 home searches as a part of the joint operation, froze 118 financial institution accounts, and in addition seized dozens of digital gadgets and bank cards.
Authorities additionally uncovered a marijuana plantation with greater than 400 vegetation throughout the raids.
“This huge felony community was very well-organised in a pyramid construction, which included completely different specialised areas and roles,” Europol mentioned.
The investigation into the group started in June 2020 when Spanish police started trying into a bunch of individuals on Tenerife who have been linked to completely different Italian mafia clans.
“[Their] mission was to launder the cash obtained by a number of pc crimes dedicated in Spain, Germany, Eire, Italy, Lithuania, and the UK,” Spanish police mentioned in a assertion.
Police mentioned on one event that suspects had kidnapped a lady and compelled her at gunpoint to steal cash from certainly one of their financial institution accounts.
When she opened 50 on-line financial institution accounts for the organisation and was arrested, the suspects threatened her to forestall her testifying towards them.
“The acute violence of this group additionally manifested itself in different felony actions,” Spanish police mentioned.
“They beat up, robbed, and extorted members of the organisation who deviated from their guidelines, in addition to different individuals or corporations in Tenerife.”