Drugs give police headaches

ANDALUCIAN police forces are complaining about the fact that the more drugs they confiscate, the more they end up having sitting about on their premises causing both health and security risks.

In 2008, following theft of 154 kilos of heroin and cocaine which had been confiscated from traffickers, the Ministry of the Interior ordered a security bunker be built at the police headquarters in Sevilla to safely store drugs until their destruction.

Yet, three years after construction of the safe storage bunker was completed, barely anything is stored inside as the health department, responsible for storing and destroying illegal substances, insists it lacks security personnel.

Meanwhile, regardless of the fact that the matter is brought up at Judicial Police commission meetings once or twice per year, police forces are forced to hang on to what they confiscate and hope for the best. This isn’t just a couple of pills either: according to CITCO (the Intelligence Centre against Terrorism and Organised Crime) data, last year alone 378,702 kilos of hashish were confiscated by security forces, 298,734 of these in Andalucia.

Over the last eight years, thieves have stolen 1,700 kilos of drugs from the authorities in Sevilla, Huelva, Malaga and Cadiz.

Government delegate for Andalucia Antonio Sanz has claimed that the solution is near and promised the Sevilla bunker will soon be ready for use, insisting that the health department first needed to be able to guarantee security at the site.

The problem is not limited to Andalucia either. In Galicia, one of the main entry points into Spain for cocaine, there is no official storage either. Police sources revealed recently that police chiefs have to store small amounts of confiscated drugs in their offices or, in the case of large hauls, in sealed vans on police premises.

The problem is worsened by the fact that judges refuse to allow destruction of drugs in case defence lawyers demand counter-analysis during investigations. This, the Guardia Civil has complained, is leading to a health risk in barracks. With marihuana cultivation becoming an increasingly popular way of obtaining drugs with lower risk, barracks are becoming storage points for veritable forests of plants. The humid conditions and characteristics of the drugs, officers complain, are putting families which live near the facilities at excess risk.


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