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COCAINE

Spanish police seize cocaine-stuffed pineapples

Spanish police said Monday they have seized 67 kilogrammes (148 pounds) of cocaine found inside dozens of hollowed-out pineapples at Madrid's main wholesale fruit and vegetable market.

Spanish police seize cocaine-stuffed pineapples
Photos: Spanish Police

The drug-stuffed fruits were found at the sprawling Mercamadrid market among a shipment of pineapples that arrived in the Portuguese port of Setubal by ship from Costa Rica and was then transported overland to the Spanish

capital, police said in a statement.

Each pineapple was “perfectly hallowed out and stuffed with compact cylinders” containing 800-1,000 grammes cocaine and was coated with wax or yellow paraffin to conceal the “odours of the chemical products which the drug
contains and avoid its detection”, the statement said.

Police arrested seven people as part of the operation — three in Madrid and four in Barcelona — who are suspected of playing a role in the cocaine smuggling operation.

Spain, with its historic and linguistic links to South America, is the main entry point to Europe for cocaine from the continent, mostly from Colombia.

Smugglers often resort to creative methods to get drugs past Spanish customs.

In recent years, police have found cocaine inside breast implants, a wig, a wheelchair cushion, a plaster cast encasing a man's broken leg as well as inside a 42-piece crockery set. 

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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Exfootballer known as 'Kokearrested in Spain for running drugs ring

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