Police in Spain, Colombia break up money-laundering rings

July 11, 2018 GMT

MADRID (AP) — The European law enforcement agency says it helped police in Spain and Colombia break up two gangs engaged in large-scale money laundering.

Europol said in a statement Wednesday the criminal organization is estimated to have laundered some 2.5 million euros ($2.9 million), much of it revenue from drug trafficking.

It says the gang laundered money by converting large amounts of cash into cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoins and Altcoins, or by “smurfing” — a term for splitting illicit proceeds into small remittances.

One of the gangs operated from various locations in Spain and France. The other network was based in Madrid.

Police arrested 23 alleged members of the groups, most of them from Spain, Colombia and Venezuela. Europol says 12 houses were searched — 10 in Spain and two in Colombia.