Australian authorities have helped counterparts in Colombia, Spain and the US to dismantle a drug ring specialising in cocaine trafficking on commercial flights.
Thirty of the ring's members have been arrested, the head of the Colombian police said on Thursday.
The drugs, which came from Colombia, were sent mainly to the US, Spain and Australia in suitcases on commercial flights, and payment for the shipments was made through currency exchanges, General Jorge Hernando Nieto told a press conference.
Operation Ambassador resulted in the capture of six people in Australia, 11 in Colombia, 10 in Spain, and three in the US, including Spanish ringleader Jorge Juan Merlo, who was arrested in Cali, Colombia.
Besides the arrests, authorities seized 790kg of cocaine, 10 vehicles, 21 mobile phones, a firearm, eight passports and more than $US200,000 ($A282,800) in cash.
Nieto said Merlo kept a low profile and would fly regularly to Italy, Spain, the US and Australia, where he would connect directly with criminal gangs.
Merlo also moved about on public transport to go unnoticed by law enforcement.
He faces drug trafficking charges in Colombia, the US, Europe and Australia.
The operation involved the Australian Federal Police, Colombian police and prosecutors, Spain's Civil Guard, and US Customs and Border Protection.
"The investigation is continuing to determine if there are other people involved in different locations in this trafficking ring," Nieto said.
Australian Associated Press
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