Originally published on February 05, 2014
Spanish authorities recently netted nearly a ton of cocaine after busting a sophisticated undersea drug smuggling operation.
The Civil Guard of Spain confirmed on February 3 that 37 backpacks fitted with floating drums and satellite tracking devices were fished out of the Valencia beach waters. The backpacks contained 900 kilograms of cocaine, 72,000 Euros in cash, luxury watches and jewelry.
Spanish police say a smuggling ring has been shipping cocaine and money from southern city Malaga to Valencia along the coast since at least last May.
Drug traffickers would dump the load in the Mediterranean ocean near the beach. The packs would be fitted with floating devices to prevent them from floating above water or sinking. They were also equipped with tracking devices to facilitate later retrieval. Two members of the smuggling ring, who would live in a safe house around the beach, would then board another vessel to track and recover the drugs.
Spanish coast guards arrested those retrieving the load at sea during the night and located the drugs the next day. Five arrests have been made so far.
Spain is a main point of entry for cocaine into Europe from Latin America. In 2012, Spanish authorities confiscated a total of 20 tons of cocaine, which was equal to more than 40 percent of the cocaine seized in Europe that year.
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