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CRIME

VIDEO: Police in Spain seize 5.5 tonnes of cocaine from Valencia port

Spanish authorities said Wednesday they had seized 5.59 tonnes of cocaine worth over €340 million in the port of Valencia, the nation's biggest haul of the drug in four years.

VIDEO: Police in Spain seize 5.5 tonnes of cocaine from Valencia port
A Guardia Civil police spokesman in Valencia said the investigation was continuing and there had so far been no arrests. Photo: Guardia Civil

Police found the drugs during a search of a suspicious shipping container that arrived in the Mediterranean port, one of Europe’s busiest, from South America, the interior ministry said in a statement.

A photo shared by the ministry showed a pile of plastic-wrapped bricks of what it said was cocaine with the word “rey” (“king”), written in bold letters on them.

Spanish authorities began the investigation that led to the seizure in 2021 after becoming suspicious that criminal gangs were “taking advantage” of the legal importation of fruit and vegetables to bring drugs to Spain “from the other side of the Atlantic”.

A Guardia Civil police spokesman in Valencia said the investigation was continuing and there had so far been no arrests.

The authorities did not say when the operation took place or from which country the container ship had arrived.

The announcement of the drug seizure comes two days after Europol said law enforcement authorities in six different countries including Spain had taken down a “super cartel” of drugs traffickers controlling about one third of the cocaine trade in Europe.

Spain’s Guardia Civil said a total of 13 people had been arrested in the country as part of that joint operation.

The cartel would bring cocaine from Panama to Spain via the Mediterranean ports of Algeciras, Barcelona and Valencia and would launder the money it earned by buying real estate on Spain’s southern coast.

Spain’s proximity to North Africa, a key source of hashish, and its close ties with former colonies in Latin America, the world’s main cocaine-producing region, have made it a gateway into Europe for drugs.

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CRIME

Spain church attack suspect to undergo psychiatric testing

The Moroccan suspect held in connection with a machete attack on two Spanish churches, killing a verger and badly injuring a priest, will undergo psychiatric testing, a court said Tuesday.

Spain church attack suspect to undergo psychiatric testing

The case is being handled by the Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s top criminal court, with the judge in charge asking that “two doctors conduct a psychiatric evaluation of the suspect”.

The suspect, 25-year-old Yassine Kanjaa, was arrested at the scene after the attacks on two churches in the southern town of Algeciras last week.

The Audiencia Nacional said the psychiatric evaluation, which will be carried out by doctors from the court’s forensic department, would provide “information about the legal responsibility” of the “presumed jihadist”.

Prosecutors have opened a terror probe and, on Monday, the court remanded the suspect in custody without bail on murder and terrorism charges.

During the deadly incident on January 26th, the suspect entered San Isidro church and attacked its priest with a machete, leaving him seriously wounded before entering Nuestra Señora de La Palma.

There he attacked the verger and chased him out of the church where he killed him.

‘Targeted priests and infidels’

Court details released on Monday said the attacker had also injured three other people, including another Moroccan man whom he “considered an infidel” because he had renounced his faith.

It said Kanjaa’s actions could be “qualified as a jihadist attack directed at both priests who profess the Catholic faith, and Muslims who, according to the suspect, don’t follow the Koran”.

The court said the suspect fits the profile of a “self-indoctrinated terrorist who acts individually without direct ties to a specific terror group but operates in the name of jihadist philosophy”.

Last week, Spain’s left-wing government refused to rule out mental illness and the police have described him as “unstable”.

The court said Kanjaa became indoctrinated “rapidly” within the space of up to six weeks, citing witnesses as telling police that just before that, he “was drinking alcohol and smoking hashish”. Then he suddenly started listening “regularly to the Koran on his mobile phone”.

One of Kanjaa’s neighbours told AFP something similar on Friday, saying he had changed radically six weeks ago, growing a beard and wearing a long robe.

Officials have said Kanjaa was served with a deportation order last June but had no prior convictions and was not under surveillance.

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