Spanish sting op nets 74 cocaine arrests

Spanish police said on Thursday that they had smashed an international cocaine ring in a two-year operation with other forces that led to the arrests of 74 people in Spain, Brazil and Colombia.

Spanish sting op nets 74 cocaine arrests
Cocaine seized by Spanish police in a February 2013 operation. File Photo: HO/Spanish Guardia Civil/AFP

Police seized 575 kilograms (1,270 pounds) of the drug and closed five secret laboratories in a global swoop together with US, Brazilian and French police.

They also seized 11 firearms including an assault rifle along with €588,000 ($765,000) and $7 million in cash, the Spanish police said in a statement.

The alleged head of the ring, which moved drugs and cash between South America and Europe, was a "known Colombian drug dealer" living in Brazil, who was arrested in Rio de Janeiro, the police said.

Check out The Local List of Spain's top ten weirdest drug busts.

The cocaine was sent to Spain and transferred to five laboratories in Malaga, Madrid and Cordoba to be cut and then sold in Spain, France and Italy.

It was transported in false bottoms in the bodies of cars.

Two of the cars were seized in Marseille, southern France, one of which was carrying 30 kilograms of cocaine.

Police detained 70 men and four women, including Spaniards, Colombians, Portuguese, Iranians and Bolivians.

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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.