WATCH: Guardia Civil in biggest European drug bust of “bath salts” in Barcelona

WATCH: Guardia Civil in biggest European drug bust of "bath salts" in Barcelona Credit: Guardia Civil

The “bath salts” seized by the Guardia Civil in Barcelona were reported to be worth over €61 million.

The Guardia Civil announced their latest drug bust in Barcelona on Twitter, alongside footage of the operation:

“The largest quantity of synthetic cathinones seized in Europe has been seized in Barcelona. In total, the Guardia Civil has seized more than 3.2 tonnes of this substance in the port of Barcelona, with an estimated value of 61 million euros.”

Credit: Twitter @guardiacivil

In their official report the Guardia Civil stated that cathinone is a stimulant found in the khat plant, a shrub native to East Africa and southern Arabia, which is usually consumed by chewing the leaves or even as a tea.

Its synthetic variants are more potent than the natural compound and far more dangerous.

Officers began the investigation earlier this year when, during the course of another police operation in France, they obtained information about the possible storage of various substances in port facilities in Barcelona.

The investigators were able to find out that the organisation had been carrying out operations to import large quantities of these substances. To do so, they used a compendium of three related companies and customs specialists.

In order to evade inspection controls, they falsified customs declarations in such a way as to expressly nullify the capacity for risk analysis on this type of product.

The investigation uncovered a transnational criminal organisation that created a complex business structure to make the fraudulent commercial operations, and those responsible for carrying them out, undetectable.

The Guardia Civil arrested a Spanish national in Barcelona and investigated three business companies, while the rest of the members of the organisation are currently being searched for, as most of the directives were issued from other countries, making it difficult to trace the directives and locate them.

The operation was reportedly possible thanks to the collaboration with the Functional Area of Health of the Government Delegation of Catalonia, the Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences of Barcelona, as well as with the Customs Administration of both the port and the airport of Barcelona.

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Written by

Joshua Manning

Originally from the UK, Joshua is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at