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COCAINE

Canadian Hells Angels smuggle coke into Spain

Spanish police have arrested four Canadian Hells Angels accused of attempting to distribute 500 kilos of cocaine around Spain.

Canadian Hells Angels smuggle coke into Spain
The Canadian citizens were arrested in the port city of Pontevedra in Galicia, a region with a reputation for being the gateway for Colombian cocaine into Europe. Photo: Berthold Stadler/DDP/AFP

The Canadian citizens were arrested in the port city of Pontevedra in Galicia, a region with a reputation for being the gateway for Colombian cocaine into Europe.

One of the accused was on board a sailboat from Colombia while the other three were waiting for him in Pontevedra.

Spanish police had been aware of the drug dispatch for several weeks, according to Canadian daily The Vancouver Sun.

Officers searched two vans loaded with half a tonne of cocaine and then proceeded to arrest the Canadian bikers.

Operations were carried out with the help of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Europol and French police.

The gang leader, Jason Arkinstall, is a high-profile Hells Angels member with an extensive criminal record of cocaine smuggling and physical assaults.

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DRUGS

Ex-footballer arrested over cocaine-laced cardboard smuggling plot in Spain

Spanish police said Wednesday that a former Real Madrid player was among those arrested when they busted a suspected international smuggling ring which infused cocaine into cardboard boxes.

Ex-footballer arrested over cocaine-laced cardboard smuggling plot in Spain
The cocaine was infused into cardboard boxes used to import pineapples and limes. Photo: Janine/Flickr

Edwin Congo and a one-time doctor to Argentine football icon Diego Maradona were arrested, along with 16 others, police said.   

The ring would conceal small amounts of cocaine — no more than 100 grammes — in the paper of each box which it then recovered “through a complex chemical process” at its labs in the Netherlands and Bulgaria, police said in a statement.   

A video released by police showed a machine crushing cardboard boxes to a pulp, which was then pressed in another container to extract the cocaine.    

Police seized one tonne of cocaine in Bulgaria in January, which the Spain-based gang is suspected to have smuggled into Europe.    

The drug was infused in over 6,600 cardboard boxes containing limes and pineapples that arrived in Greece from Colombia.

Spanish police said they were led to the ring when they started to investigate the “illegal activities” of Colombian doctor Mauricio Vergara, who owns a beauty clinic in Madrid and is famous for having helped Maradona lose weight.   

Vergara was arrested in 2002 for drug trafficking in Colombia, while Maradona has undergone rehabilitation for cocaine abuse.    

The ring is suspected of having used Vergara's clinic in Madrid as its “centre of operations,” a Spanish police source told AFP.   

Congo, who retired from football in 2009, was released after being questioned by the police.

He acknowledged having traded in emeralds with some of the other suspects but denied any wrongdoing.

“I am innocent, I have absolutely nothing to do with the sale, manufacture or anything that has to do with cocaine,” the 43-year-old Colombian told Spanish television station La Sexta on Tuesday night.

 

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