The consignment appeared to be harmless, but the sweets were impregnated with drugs. / sur

Seven arrested, including a Brit, after police find 11 kilos of gummy bears impregnated with hallucinogenic drug

Houses, storage facilities and commercial premises in Benalmádena, Cártama, Alhaurín el Grande and Malaga were searched during the National Police's Operation Amercia, which is still continuing

SOFÍA FERNÁNDEZ Malaga

The packages sent to a courier company to be delivered abroad appeared to be completely normal and harmless, but the 11 kilos of gummy bear sweets they contained had been impregnated with the hallucinogenic substance 25N-NBOM, which is better known as ‘The Bomb’ and whose effects can last for over 12 hours.

Police from the Specialist and Violent Crime Unit of the National Police in Torremolinos and Benalmádena discovered the crime during what they called Operation America, and have now arrested seven people for trafficking drugs internationally by using courier companies to deliver the goods.

After searching seven houses, storage facilities and commercial premises in Benalmádena, Cártama, Alhaurín el Grande and Malaga, the officers seized not only the contaminated gummy bears but also 3.7 kilos of psychotropic drugs, two kilos of marijuana, one kilo and 500 mls of cutting substances, 900 euros in cash, several sets of scales, a press, a packaging machine and the material needed to pack the consignments.

Sources close to the investigation say that most of the drugs were derivatives of substances which give similar effects to Ecstasy, ketamine, cocaine and mephedrone, but with small changes to their composition.

Some went by post

The police became suspicious when a series of packages and letters began arriving at one of the main courier companies, to be sent abroad. To make them appear legal and reach their destination more quickly, the items were in envelopes bearing the logos of different companies but the police discovered that these companies were non-existent and their addresses were not real. Many of the packages had customs declaration stickers, but these were also fake and had been produced on a conventional printer. The letters had been posted in different postboxes in Benalmádena and Torremolinos.

After obtaining permission from a court, the police opened 461 packages and letters which turned out to contain different designer drugs. There are still another 126 envelopes to be opened, once a judge has granted permission.

Official sources have said that one of the seven people arrested is a British man who lives in Alhaurín el Grande, and they believe he was the leader of the gang.

The investigation is continuing.