The drugs were packed into one kilo packages and hidden in a fake base of the container. / sur

Three serving police officers arrested following discovery of 13-million-euro drugs haul which arrived through Malaga Port

The National Police and Guardia Civil officers, who were based elsewhere in Andalucía, are believed to have been part of the security structure used by the gang to protect the shipment

JUAN CANO MALAGA.

Two officers from the National Police force and one member of Guardia Civil have been arrested in an anti-drugs operation which resulted in 365 kilos of cocaine being seized. Another seven people were also detained.

The investigation began after a warning from the Colombian authorities about a large consignment of drugs on its way from South America. This was believed to be a test run to see how reliable the route would be. Colombian police had learned that the drugs had been packed into a container of pineapple pulp and loaded on a ship on 15 August. It left Buenaventura port for Malaga four days later.

The Spanish authorities authorised the ship to enter the country so the container could be identified and then tracked on its onward journey, to see who received it in this country. When the ship arrived on 9 September the Customs declaration said the cargo was heading for Dos Hermanas in Seville province.

The police recognised two colleagues

Plain-clothes police in an unmarked car followed the lorry to a service area on the A-92, where the driver went into the restaurant. Everything seemed normal up to that point but then they spotted a man dressed all in black in the parking area, holding a mobile phone and apparently watching every vehicle that arrived. And they recognised him. He was a police officer based in Seville. Three other men then turned up in an Audi A6, and one of those was also a police officer.

The men became suspicious of the unmarked police car and began taking photos of it, so the officers went into the petrol station to make it look as if that was why they were there. When the lorry set off, followed by the Audi, they followed at a discreet distance.

The lorry left the service area, followed shortly after by the Audi. The police followed at a discreet distance. When it arrived at La Isla industrial estate in Dos Hermanas, the driver parked outside a warehouse. The Audi drove around a few times and then parked nearby.

The police left because they didn’t want to arouse the men’s suspicions, and when they returned early the next morning the same men were inside the Audi, keeping watch.

The lorry left the warehouse and was driven to Carrión de los Céspedes, where it unloaded and then left. When the police entered they found four people, one of whom turned out to be a Guardia Civil officer, opening the container. It contained 365 rectangular packages, each weighing one kilo, in a fake compartment in the bottom. A test showed that they contained cocaine.

The haul was worth 13 million euros if sold by the kilo, or over 22 million if divided into smaller amounts. Altogether nine people were arrested in this operation, including one of the lorry drivers. Seven were sent to prison as a preventive measure and two were released on bail.