NORTH AFRICA’S largest cocaine smuggler has been arrested.
Officers from the National Police and Tax Agency brought down a family allegedly using real estate and financial institutions as a smokescreen for their operation. The agents also uncovered one ton of the narcotic hidden inside pineapples as it was shipped from South America.
Officers were forced to search thousands of fruits after finding 33 kilograms of cocaine hidden in cylinders coated in yellow wax inside pineapples in one shipment from Costa Rica.
A 72-year-old Moroccan man has been arrested, believed to be the head of the organisation. Police say the accused has been smuggling drugs since the 1970s, starting with hashish before graduating to cocaine and moving to Malaga to evade detection.
Officers claim the organisation used its’ company’s commercial shipments to transport the drug from South America. Police first allegedly uncovered the drugs in a shipment of drugs coming from Ecuador, finding 960 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside pineapples.
Last week it was announced the Guardia Civil have smashed a criminal ring using a new route to smuggle cocaine from Brazil to Spain.
Officers have arrested four people in Malaga and seized around 11 kilos of the narcotic under operation Banca Latvia, which discovered the organisation was smuggling cocaine through Morocco, a route not previously used.
Working with police in Madrid, officers found the group were flying smugglers from Brazil to Morocco and then on to Spain using suitcases with false bottoms. The Guardia Civil found the organisation had recruited mules from various different countries, flying some people from Madrid to Buenos Aires and then on to Brazil where they would be given a ticket for Morocco and then Malaga.
Last month, a Spanish man was detained in France for smuggling one ton of cannabis from Malaga. The 35-year-old is being held after his truck was searched by officers in Montmarault near Lyon. Police say he was stopped due to collaboration between the Spanish and French authorities.
Also in November, a man was arrested in Malaga for importing 65 kilos of cocaine. The accused has been handed over to a court in Alegciras and police have not ruled out further arrests after they discovered the drugs at Algeciras port.
Officers from the Tax Agency and Guardia Civil seized the narcotics after becoming suspicious of a shipment. Using a non-intrusive scanner, officers discovered the cocaine had been hidden in eight small metal cylinders covered in lead.