Police have arrested fourteen people in Spain and two in Bulgaria in an operation against the laundering of funds from home burglaries and drug trafficking in which four diamonds valued at 2,600,000 euros and 720 gold coins worth 1,100,000 euros were seized.
In a joint operation by the Spanish and Bulgarian police, the Spanish tax agency and Europol eight people were arrested in Madrid, three in Zamora, one in Elche (Alicante), Salamanca and Marbella and two in Bulgaria.
The detainees are accused of money laundering, criminal organisation, falsification of documents, illegal possession of arms and drug trafficking.
The group was led by a Bosnian citizen and composed of Spaniards, Colombians and Bulgarians, who had woven a criminal and corporate network that had been in operation since 2008, reports the Spanish police.
They stored a huge amount of precious metals, mainly gold, from the thefts in homes committed throughout Spain and from drug trafficking in the back rooms of pawn shops.
The gang melted down the gold by hand and once they were converted into ingots and plates they were introduced to the national and international market through transport companies that acted in collusion with the organisation.
Those involved, already known to the Spanish Tax Agency for their participation in schemes of tax fraud, invested the money in the purchase of real estate, works of art and cryptocurrencies through frontmen.
During the investigation, a virtual wallet with a large amount of Ripple, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with a value of 220,000 euros was blocked. In addition to the diamonds and gold coins, 390,000 euros were found in cash, fourteen luxury watches as well as a large number of icons belonging to the orthodox church.
More than thirty properties in Spain and several bank accounts were seized in Spain Bulgaria.
Raids carried out on these properties yielded forty kilos of gold in bullion and coins, another fifteen in jewelry, the four diamonds, fourteen gold watches, a high-end car, 390,000 euros in cash, fourteen orthodox icons, two handguns and a rifle with charger.