That party, one more among the banquets that gladdened his days in Dubai, was the sumptuous season finale and pleasant wearing in the emirate “The Tiger”, a 44-year-old man from Madrid who is considered the biggest cocaine dealer Spanish and who was arrested in the United Arab Emirates.
Well camouflaged in Dubai, a protective haven for money launderers, drug traffickers, cybercriminals and traffickers, El Tigre, whose real identity is Alejandro Salgado Vega, has fallen for a seriously doomed weakness in the Persian Gulf country: police have found out local, at that party, cocaine use. And she stopped him.
The emirate of Dubai punishes with five years in prison those who incite, consume or facilitate access to drugs.
Although El Tigre has been in prison since August, the Spanish Interior Ministry recently released the news of his arrest. And speed up the procedures to obtain be extradited to Spain.
Cocaine camouflaged in coal
The tiger was wanted more than two years ago when the Guardia Civil discovered that the apparent coal Hong Kong-flagged container ship called Maersk Laberinto was unloading in the port of Algeciras, Cadiz, it was not coal: the jute bags actually hid the cocaine, of the purest kind, from Paraguay.
They were almost two thousand kilos for which, on the black market, they are paid 68 million euros.
That day in November 2020, the Guardia Civil arrested 12 people. The procedure became known as Operation Watchtower and was a key piece in the puzzle that led to El Tigre, leader of the global cocaine trafficking network on five continents.
In recent weeks, moreover, they have dropped in Spain seven other band members who responded to the indications of El Tigre, a name that appeared in encrypted chats that the Guardia Civil had access to but that the police were unable to identify.
El Tigre interacted in the phone application Sky ETC through a numerical key which later allowed him to find out who he distrusted within the organization, how he controlled the quality of drugs and what details he valued about his life in Dubai. He was also known to order payment from intermediaries with 500 euro banknotes.
Until now, in Spain, El Tigre had only been denounced in 2014 for false documents and criminal organization.
The press release now released by the Ministry of the Interior reads: “A part of the criminal organization led by ‘El Tigre’, the most active Spanish drug trafficker at an international level in the traffic of cocaine, has been dismantled”.
“Thanks to this investigation it has been possible to confirm that El Tigre resided in Dubaifrom where, through encrypted communication systems, he controlled a global cocaine trafficking network present on five continents, monitoring in detail drug consignments from their origin mainly in South America, to their recovery in ports around the world. added.
“The Dubai Tiger led a life of the highest order, going unnoticed among the rest of the population, with a exemplary behaviornot having any type of incident that could alert the local police forces,” underlines the Spanish Interior Ministry.
Dubai, paradise for criminals
A European Union report last year denounced that “the emirate has become a a key place for money laundering activities related to cocaine trafficking in the European Union”.
According to Europol, the European Union’s police agency, the mega-cartel of which El Tigre was a part is responsible for the entry a third of the cocaine circulating in Europe.
Six other “drug lords” – of British, Panamanian, Bosnian and North African origin – were arrested in the international police operation, among the 49 implicated, who had settled in Dubai, a destination that the DEA, the US anti-drug agency , consider haven for international criminals.
The Spanish Interior Ministry is committed to reversing this trend: “Thanks to the close collaboration between the Guardia Civil and the Police of the Emirate of Dubai, unprecedented policing successes are being achieved by carrying out coordinated operations between the two bodies which they are making it possible to decapitate the most important criminal organizations, which until now considered the emirate a sanctuary for the world’s biggest drug traffickers,” he said in his statement.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.