Twelve arrested as police raid Spain's first South American style cocaine laboratory

The gang leaders were living in Malaga province and originally planned to set up the lab in a rented house in Coín but then decided to transfer the operation to Madrid

EUROPA PRESS Malaga

Twelve people have been arrested as part of a National Police operation which has uncovered the first cocaine-producing laboratory in Spain. It was similar to those in South America and had the capacity to produce 120 kilos of the drug a week.

‘Operation Silicon’, which began in May, included searches of properties in Malaga, Cordoba and Madrid. The leader of the group, who is Spanish and has been living a luxury lifestyle in Malaga province, is said to have used third parties to control the import of the drug in sacks of cement. It was then used at a clandestine laboratory in Madrid.

The police ascertained that the organisation was storing a large quantity of chemical products in Cordoba and then transferring them as needed to a maritime container situated in a Costa del Sol car park ready for transporting.

The officers also identified a Dominican national who worked closely with the leader of the gang, supervised the production of the drug in the laboratory and arranged how it was distributed. He had personally recruited three Colombians who came to Spain specifically to extract the cocaine; these people are known as ‘cooks’ and are contracted for a specific operation.

Five 'cooks' caught in the act

The investigators learned that the gang had originally rented a house in Coín and intended to turn that into the laboratory, but then decided on an alternative location in the Madrid region instead.

When officers from the Special Operations Group entered the laboratory, they found five ‘cooks’ at work. Apart from the 12 arrests, they seized a supply of products needed to produce the cocaine, six vehicles and 36,000 euros in cash.