Spanish police seize ‘largest cocaine shipment in Europe’ weighing nine tonnes


Police in southern Spain have seized a nearly nine tonne haul of cocaine hidden in a boat transporting bananas from Colombia – the largest ever shipment of the drug found entering Europe.  Spain’s interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, announced the record seizure at the Bay of Gibraltar port of Algeciras after an international operation involving Europol and the Colombian government.  The haul of 8.74 tonnes was found stashed among 1080 boxes of bananas on the boat, Mr Zoido said, hailing it as “the biggest stash seized in a shipment in all of Europe”. The drugs are estimated to have a street value in the hundreds of millions.  Six arrests have been made in an operation against the trafficking network involved, Mr Zoido said – four in Spain and two in France. He did not give details of the identities or nationalities of those detained, though one was reported to be a member of Spain’s Guardia Civil. The Colombian government said in a statement that the shipment belonged to the Gulf Clan, the former paramilitary group that has become the country’s largest and most powerful drug cartel. It had departed on a Singapore-flagged boat from the northern Golfo de Urabá 15 days ago, authorities added. South American traffickers are increasingly focusing their efforts on smuggling to Europe as an alternative market to the United States, after Mexican cartels took control of smuggling routes to their northern neighbour.  Cocaine production has surged to record levels in Colombia throughout the course of the peace process with the FARC, as cartels vie for the slice of the market relinquished by the drug trafficking guerrilla group. Spanish police seize ‘largest cocaine shipment in Europe’ weighing nine tonnes

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