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Malaga port customs officer arrested in cocaine smuggling investigation

Investigators believe he acted with a local businessman to help bring in large quantities of drugs from South America

Irene Quirante

Malaga

Friday, 2 February 2024, 18:57

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A customs official in Malaga has been arrested for allegedly helping to bring in 1,822 kilos of cocaine through the city's port from South America.

Twelve other people have been arrested as part of the police operation, which started in February last year. Among them is a business owner in the refrigerated food sector, whose company is based in Malaga. Allegedly, this suspect cooperated with the port authority, to which he had lent a scanner for detecting narcotic substances.

This gave him a privileged position which allowed him to be able to introduce drugs through the port, according to investigators.

The criminal investigation started when officers discovered a stash of 611 kilos of cocaine hidden in a shipment of bananas. It led police to a company in the refrigerated fruit and vegetable sector, with its head office in Malaga. Subsequent investigations then led to the customs official who worked at the Port of Malaga, responsible for the inspection and control of containers.

In mid-June, police then seized 25 and 381 kilogrammes of cocaine in a shipment of pineapples, arresting the businessman and a driver who was taking the drugs to the company's headquarters.

A fourth seizure of drugs was made in August last year by the Guardia Civil in Santa Fe in Granada, with another 805 kilos of cocaine seized, also coming from the Port of Malaga. The drugs were hidden behind a false partition, at the bottom of a shipping container that was transporting legal goods.

Nine searches were carried out during the police operation. Five in Malaga city, two in Torremolinos, one in Sierra de Yeguas (Malaga) and another in Guadix (Granada). The final person to be arrested on 29 January was one of the alleged ringleaders who remained at large. Six suspects have been remanded in custody.

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