A Spanish citizen was arrested here Thursday on charges of international drug trafficking and money laundering, Brazil's Federal Police said.
The 35-year-old suspect was detained at his luxury apartment in Rio de Janeiro's exclusive Barra da Tijuca neighborhood. Authorities also seized or embargoed real estate and other assets valued at roughly 20 million reais ($9 million).
The suspect is Oliver Ortiz de Zarate Martin, a Valladolid native who has no arrest record in Spain, a police source told Efe.
His arrest was part of a Federal Police operation carried out in collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and police agencies in Australia and Portugal.
The investigation began in 2011 after Australian authorities found 300 kilos of Colombian cocaine aboard a sailboat and arrested four Spaniards in connection with the consignment, Federal Police inspector Paulo Telles told a press conference here.
The Australians later identified Ortiz as one of those behind the shipment.
Brazilian police then began keeping tabs on Ortiz and soon saw signs that he was laundering money.
"He had no way to explain the origin" of the funds he used to acquire a Rio discotheque and other properties, Telles said.
Brazilian police embargoed seven properties belonging to Ortiz, including the Barra da Tijuca apartment and another luxury residence worth 4 million reais ($1.8 million).
They also seized a Ferrari, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and other vehicles, as well as 175,000 reais ($79,000), 110,000 euros ($143,000) and $150,000 greenbacks in cash.
Ortiz, a legal resident of Brazil, has a Brazilian wife and is the father of children born in the South American nation. EFE