Police have arrested 49 people after busting a "European super-cartel" with 30 tonnes of cocaine commanding a street value of a staggering £2.7billion.

The class A drugs were found across the Netherlands, Spain, France, Belgium, and the UAE, and seized as part of the so-called ‘Operation Desert Light’, headed by Europol.

The raids, carried out between November 8 and 19, focussed on the "command-and-control centre and the logistical drugs trafficking infrastructure in Europe" and snagged six "high-value" targets in Dubai.

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One of those figures is a Brit who fled to the UAE from his previous base in the Costa del Sol, reports said. He is believed to be the kingpin of the group, according to The Sun.

Speaking about the Brit, a spokesman for one of the force's involved, Spain's Guardia Civil, said: "The leader of this organisation was identified as a British man linked to the Costa del Sol who had to leave Spain and move to Dubai after he was the subject of a kidnap attempt.

"From Dubai, he continued to direct and coordinate the organisation’s criminal activities, while at the same time maintaining drug-trafficking contacts and business interests with the rest of the drug lords based in this emirate city."

Spanish Police became aware of the scale of the operation when they found 700kg of cocaine in a shipping container in Valencia in March 2020.

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The spokesperson added: "This gave rise to a large interchange of information, under the Europol umbrella, with other countries’ police forces which resulted in the identification of the people in charge of the introduction of the drugs into the container as well as the ‘contamination’ of the container at the port of origin in Panama.

"During the probe investigators were able to establish that a criminal organisation was smuggling containers with cocaine inside through the ports of Barcelona, Valencia and Algeciras.

"At the same time, a complex real estate business set-up had been created on the Costa del Sol to launder the proceeds of the profits obtained from the drug smuggling."

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