The leader of the European division of the Mexican Los Zetas drug cartel was arrested by Spanish authorities in Madrid Monday.
The accused, who goes by the name of “Said,” is Moroccan and 54 years old, El Mundo reported. Four more cartel members were also apprehended.
“A total of five people have been arrested in addition to the seizure of 400kg of narcotic substances and 220,000 euro in cash,” the Spanish National Police wrote. The cartel had been trying to establish a base in Spain and posting agents across Europe, especially the Netherlands, according to local media.
The Spanish authorities collaborated with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the Colombian National Police in what constitutes the second biggest blow against the Zetas in Spain. In 2016, the Spanish police arrested Said’s predecessor, Juan Manuel Muñoz Luévano over money laundering and drug trafficking, El Pais reported.
Los Zetas, originally founded by Mexican special forces deserters, has fragmented into smaller groups in recent years, but was known as one of the most violent drug cartels in Mexico.