An investigation by Spanish authorities has uncovered an alleged cocaine trafficking network headed by a Mexican citizen linked to several different drug cartels, shedding light on the “franchise model” Mexican crime groups use to traffic drugs to Europe.
On August 23, EFE reported it had obtained access to a Spanish police report alleging Juan Manuel Muñoz Luévano — also known by the aliases “El Mono” and “El Ingeniero” — headed a trafficking ring that brought cocaine into Spain through the port of Valencia, Spain’s second busiest seaport and the sixth busiest in Europe.
Spanish police arrested Muñoz on March 18 in Madrid, accusing him of money laundering and criminal association. Soon thereafter, US authorities unsealed a federal indictment charging Muñoz with drug trafficking, money laundering and weapons violations in the United States. The United States also requested Muñoz’s extradition from Spain.
US prosecutors identified Muñoz as an “important member” of the Zetas organization. However, the arrest order issued by Spanish prosecutors said that Muñoz worked “independently,” maintaining “business relationships with various Mexican drug trafficking cartels” including the Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, the Gulf Cartel and the Beltran-Leyva Organization, reported EFE.
Spanish investigators are also looking into possible ties between Muñoz and Humberto Moreira, the former governor of the Mexican state of Coahuila, who was arrested in Madrid in January, according to EFE. Moreira is suspected of laundering money he embezzled from public coffers during his time as governor as well as helping launder money the Zetas earned from drug trafficking.
Read More: Insight Crime
Featured Image – Juan Manuel Muñoz Luévano – Insight Crime