Spain crowns European drug bust list

Spain is the European capital for both hashish and cocaine busts, a new report says.

Spain crowns European drug bust list
A cannabis plantation in the UK. Photo: West Midlands Police/Flickr
The report into drug seizures in Europe in 2010 shows that while overall quantities coming in to the continent are dropping, Spain was still the European narcotics hotspot that year.  
The International Narcotics Control Board study reveals that 27 of the total 35 tonnes of cannabis plants coming into Europe were detected in Spain in 2010.
For cocaine, 25 of the total 60 tonnes intercepted in Europe were in this country.
The research by the United Nations body, which investigates whether governments are complying with international drug treaties, says that one percent of Europeans use cannabis or hashish on a daily basis.
Some 6.7 percent of Europeans used those drugs on a yearly basis, the report found. 
The International Narcotics Control Board stated on Tuesday: "While the abuse of illicit drugs in Europe has stabilized in recent years, it is still at a high level. In addition, new psychoactive substances remain a major challenge in West and Central Europe. 
"The number of internet sites selling psychoactive products destined for the countries of the European Union more than quadrupled in two years, with 690 such websites in January 2012," stated the body

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Spanish police make ‘biggest ever haul of synthetic drugs’

Spanish police said Friday they had seized a record 827,000 ecstasy tablets as well as other narcotics in what they called "the biggest ever seizure of synthetic drugs" in Spain.

Spanish police make 'biggest ever haul of synthetic drugs'
Police claim the seizure is the biggest in Spanish history. Photo: Guardia Civil and the National Police
In a joint operation, the Guardia Civil and the National Police smashed “the main international criminal organisation behind the production and supply of most of the synthetic drugs in Spain”, they said in a joint statement.
Synthetic drugs are manufactured using man-made chemicals rather than natural ingredients.
Eleven people were arrested on charges of drug trafficking and belonging to a criminal organisation, including the organisation's Dutch boss.
As well as the ecstasy tabs, police also seized 76 kilos (167 pounds) of speed, 39.5 kilos of crystal meth and 217 litres of liquid amphetamine with which they could have produced 738.5 kilos of speed.
They also impounded almost 400 kilos of hashish and marijuana which they were to have exported to The Netherlands to pay for the purchase of the necessary substances to manufacture the drugs at two labs in Barcelona.
The organisation included traffickers from Spain, The Netherlands, Romania, Colombia and Italy and had bases in Barcelona, the southern city of Malaga and the island of Ibiza, all of which are known for having a vibrant nightlife and many dance clubs.
Although Spain is considered one of the main drug gateways to Europe, seizures of synthetic narcotics are uncommon as most traffickers usually deal in cannabis and cocaine.