Police in western Switzerland say they have seized 13.8 kilograms of cocaine and arrested 13 members of an international drug trafficking gang.
The lengthy investigation, which included collaboration by Geneva police, Swiss customs officers and police in the Netherlands and Germany, focused on cocaine dealers of West African origin operating in the towns of Yverdon-les-Bains and Vevey in western Switzerland.
The investigators found that the gang had imported "several hundred" kilos of cocaine into Switzerland, but did not specify the time period or overall amount. The seizure of nearly 14 kg of cocaine is one of the largest ever made in canton Vaud.
In all, 13 people were arrested, aged between 28 and 51, the police said in a statement on Tuesday. They included six Nigerians, five of whom were living in Switzerland, two Romanians and two Poles all living in the Netherlands, two Germans in Germany and an Albanian woman living in Switzerland. Almost all of the drug mules were of European origin, while the others were responsible for managing the trafficked cocaine, the police noted in a statement on Tuesdayexternal link.
The police also seized over CHF91,000 ($90,733) and €54,000 in cash. Those arrested are being held in Switzerland.
Cocaine use in Swiss cities is among the highest in Europe. In March of this year, the Portugal-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addictionexternal link identified Barcelona, Spain, as the overall cocaine capital of Europe. But five Swiss cities featured in the centre's top ten: Zurich ranked second, St Gallen fourth, Geneva fifth, Basel eighth, and Bern ninth.
The statistics come from a European wastewater study of 56 cities in 19 countries.