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Police bust drug smugglers on speedboats to Spain

Spanish police have arrested a drug gang of 100 members, accused of bringing narcotics from Morocco to Spain, authorities stated on Saturday.

Police bust drug smugglers on speedboats to Spain
Photo: Matthaeus/Unsplash

The Spanish Civil Guard has dismantled a network that distributes marijuana throughout Europe, the Civil Guard announced in a statement.

In the drugs bust, Spanish police seized more than five tonnes of hashish (resin) and 230 kilos of marijuana (weed).

During the raids across southern Spain and France, Spanish authorities discovered that the gang, known as Monparlet, transported the drugs using the Guadalquivir river, then hid the drugs in fruit trucks to take them to France.

Footage of drugs being smuggled from Morocco to Spain, say Spanish police. Photo: Spanish Civil Guard

“One branch of the organisation launched the boats on the Guadalquivir river, another sent the drugs to Europe in trucks from a warehouse located in Dos Hermanas and a third one refuelled the boats from marinas located between La Línea and Manilva,” the Civil Guard statement added.

The drug ring was also found to supply other criminal organisations with boats, fuel, food and crews.

In the raids, police seized a taser gun, as well as five vehicles, including two trucks, navigation systems, computer and communication equipment.

READ ALSO: Spanish police make ‘biggest ever haul of synthetic drugs’

Agents found out that the drug ring was also launching boats between the Sevillian towns of Isla Mayor and Puebla del Río, an area of marshland and therefore difficult to access from land.

Police described the illegal organisation as a “powerful infrastructure” in which they carried out drug runs “all along the coasts of Andalusia”.

Drugs were disguised in fruit trucks to facilitate transport through Spain. Photo: Spanish Civil Guard

In addition, authorities discovered several warehouses on the outskirts of Seville, which served as a boat repair and maintenance station, ensuring boats were always ready to go.

With the support of French Customs, 105 kilograms of marijuana were seized in Dax. In Spain, two more trucks were seized: one in Badajoz, where they found 300 kilos of hashish and police confiscated a further 125 kilos of marijuana in Irun (Guipuzcoa).

READ ALSO: ‘Europe’s marijuana orchard’: How Spain is feeding the continent’s drug habit

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SPANISH POLITICS

Spain’s PM sent booby-trapped letter as more explosives detected

Pedro Sánchez received a booby-trapped letter last week which was "similar" to one which exploded Wednesday at Ukraine's embassy in Madrid, whilst two other explosive packages have been sent to other key locations in Spain.

Spain's PM sent booby-trapped letter as more explosives detected

Security staff carried out a “controlled explosion” of the mailed item, whose “content was similar” to that found in other letters sent to the Ukrainian embassy, an air force base, the defence ministry and a military equipment firm.

The envelope, “containing pyrotechnic material” and addressed to Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, arrived by regular mail on November 24th, the interior ministry said in a statement.

On Wednesday the security officer at Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid lightly injured his hand while opening a letter bomb addressed to the Ukrainian ambassador, prompting Kyiv to boost security at its embassies worldwide.

Spain’s High Court has opened a probe for a possible case of terrorism.

Later in the evening, a second “suspicious postal shipment” was intercepted at the headquarters of military equipment firm Instalaza in the northeastern city of Zaragoza, the interior ministry said.

Experts carried out a controlled explosion of that mailed item as well.

Instalaza makes the grenade launchers that Spain donates to Ukraine.

Earlier Thursday, security forces also detected a “suspect envelope” at an air base in Torrejón de Ardoz outside of Madrid which is regularly used to send weapons donated by Spain to Ukraine.

Police were called to the base “to secure the area and investigators are analysing this envelope” which was addressed to the base’s satellite centre, the interior ministry said.

“Both the characteristics of the envelopes and their content are similar in the four cases,” it said in a statement, adding police had informed the National Court of the four incidents.

A fifth envelope with “explosive” arrived at the defence ministry in Madrid on Thursday morning, a defence ministry source told AFP.

Experts blew up the package at the ministry, the source added.

‘Terrorist methods’

Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain, Serhii Pohoreltsev, appeared to blame Russia for the letter bomb that arrived at the embassy.

“We are well aware of the terrorist methods of the aggressor country,” he said during an interview late Wednesday with Spanish public television.

“Russia’s methods and attacks require us to be ready for any kind of incident, provocation or attack,” he added.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ordered the strengthening of security at all Ukrainian embassies, the country’s foreign ministry spokesperson said Wednesday after the letter bomb went off at the embassy in Madrid.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February in what it calls a “special military operation”, which Kyiv and the West describe as an unprovoked land grab.

In addition to sending arms to help Ukraine, Spain is training Ukrainian troops as part of a European Union programme.

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