Spanish police dismantle black cocaine trafficking ring
Spanish police said on Tuesday they had dismantled “one of the largest cocaine distribution networks” in Spain’s northern region of Castilla y León, arresting three people, including the group’s leader, and seizing 862 kg of cocaine black disguised as charcoal.
The “unprecedented procedure” of concealing the importation of the drug involved a “complex chemical process” that would camouflage the narcotic to look like charcoal; a process used by the Mexican and Colombian cartels which allegedly provided the main suspect.
The arrests follow a year-long investigation involving more than 50 Spanish and Portuguese law enforcement officers that began with a real estate company in 2020. Police have been alerted to their involvement in “suspicious imports” by sea which had “little or nothing to do with its corporate purpose,” the statement said.
This led investigators to uncover a “complex network of companies” which used “many front men” to cover up the network’s true purpose. One of the companies believed to import charcoal has been tested by Portuguese authorities and found to contain positive traces of cocaine.
“The drug arrived and could not be detected practically because it had a shape and color very similar to charcoal. In addition, the characteristic smell of cocaine was eliminated, so that it could not not be detected by sniffer dogs, ”the statement added.
In addition to concealing the cocaine in the form of charcoal, the traffickers also managed to evade detection by only hiding a certain number of bags containing cocaine among a much larger number of bags containing legitimate imports. For example, out of 1,364 bags in an import, only 30 contained drugs, the statement said.
“This operation is very important for law enforcement, not only because it involves the arrest of a historic drug trafficker, but also because it marks one of the largest cocaine seizures recorded in Castilla y León, and due to the discovery of a new modus operandi which was, until now, unknown, ”the statement added.