Agents at work during Operation Igharb-Valla / CNP

Spanish police smash drugs gang manufacturing powerful hallucinogen

Karkubi is a potent and dangerous drug that is cheap to produce

MELCHOR SÁIZ-PARDO

Operation Igharb-Valla, a joint investigation carried out by Spanish National Police, the Customs Surveillance Service of the Tax Agency and the Tangier MED Police Cooperation Centre of the Moroccan General Directorate of National Security (DGSN), has dismantled the largest Spanish-Moroccan network for the manufacture of Karkubi.

The operation resulted in the seizure of 200,000 pills in Spain and the arrest of eight of the group's members, including its leader.

Karkubi is made by mixing psychotropic drugs that are not difficult to obtain in pharmacies in Europe with hashish, alcohol and glue.

The Spanish branch of the network that operated in Lleida, Madrid and Alicante used people with police records and addicts to obtain legal medicines containing clonazepam, a potent anxiolytic, and phenobarbital, an antiepileptic, which were in turn used to manufacture Karkubi.

These drugs have legitimate medical uses, but when combined with hashish powder, alcohol and glue, they unleash a dangerous hallucinogenic cocktail.

This drug, which has street names including 'cartridge', 'refill', 'red blister' and 'Guadalupe' can be bought in Spain for as little as five euros, making it popular with young people. It can lead to psychosis and suicide.