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Crime

Watch as biggest-ever haul of cocaine in Spain is discovered in major port on south coast

Police discovered 9,436 kilos of drugs destined for Europe in a refrigerated container at the Andalusian port of Algeciras

Europa Press

Algeciras

Monday, 28 August 2023, 16:10

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A record-breaking haul of cocaine in Spain has been discovered in a shipping container at the port of Algeciras in Cadiz.

National Police seized the 9,436 kilos of the drugs inside the refrigerated container, bound for Portugal, which apparently contained 1,080 boxes of bananas last Wednesday 23 August.

The haul surpasses the last large cocaine stash, also intercepted in Algeciras in 2018, when a total of 8,740 kilos was seized in a container of bananas coming from Colombia.

For the moment, no arrests have been made and the investigation is still open. The chief inspector of the Udyco drugs and serious crime squad, Alberto Morales, said the criminal group responsible operates on an international scale, so the main perpetrators are not in Spain. There were more than 30 different logos on the illicit shipment, which correspond to the different European criminal organisations receiving the stash, according to investigators.

Tax agency officials, following a tip-off from the National Police, started an investigation to find out which containers in their database met the profiles suggested by the officers. Fifteen were selected, in which no narcotic substances were found, and it was the one registered last Wednesday that yielded results.

José Carlos Arobes, deputy special delegate of the Tax Agency, said the container register indicated that it contained bananas, which was correct on the first pallets unloaded, but on the subsequent pallets they found 'tablet' bars of cocaine.

The organisation operated through a company dedicated to the international banana trade located in Machala in Ecuador. From there, the goods were sent in maritime containers to different Spanish companies controlled by members of the criminal network. Police said the organisation had a large logistical capacity, capable of sending 40 containers per month to Europe, some of them contaminated with the narcotic substance, according to investigators.

Arobes said the discovery was "the most important in the history of Spain in terms of cocaine seizures" and constituted "a resounding success in the fight against drug trafficking".

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