Police Arrest Malaga-Based Drug Boss

Police Seize 6.5 Tonnes Of Cocaine Hidden Between Bananas

Boxes of bananas containing cocaine shipment. Credit: Europol.eu

Police have smashed a multi-million-euro drug operation after huge amounts of cocaine were discovered hidden in banana shipments from Columbia.

The Guardia Civil, with the help of Europol, has dismantled a criminal network involved in the multi-tonne trafficking of cocaine from South America to the EU, according to a report on June 30.

During the operation, investigators searched eight locations in Cádiz and Málaga and made a total of 13 arrests. They also seized 6.5 tonnes of cocaine worth €223 million, vehicles, luxury watches, a large number of electronic devices and €1.5 million in cash.

The investigation began in October 2022 and also involved the Colombian National Police and the Latvian State Police. Europol played a vital role in the exchange of information and provided continuous analytical support. On the action day, Europol deployed officers to Spain to support intelligence developments during the field activities.

Drug Trafficking Headquarters In Malaga

The mastermind behind the illegal organisation was based in Malaga, a belongs to a well-known local family from Castellar de la Frontera, Cadiz which used a wholesale frozen fish company in Algeciras as a front business. He is believed to be one of Spain’s biggest drug traffickers.

The crime boss headed a criminal network that laundered illicit assets through this company, while also being involved in attempts to corrupt public officials. As for the smuggling of cocaine, the criminal network used another means to stash their illicit cargo – bananas.

Cocaine Hidden In Banana Shipments

The cover shipment was the importation of bananas from Ecuador and Colombia. Once the shipments were extracted from the port of Algeciras and were on their way to their legal destination, they were diverted to a warehouse where the pallets with cocaine were replaced with identical ones containing bananas.

In December 2022, the Colombian Police seized about 3 tonnes of cocaine concealed in banana shipments transiting from the port of Turbo via the port of Cartagena and destined for the Spanish port of Algeciras.

In another incident, Colombian authorities intercepted a second shipment of 1.25 tonnes of cocaine at the port of Cartagena. The legal destination of this shipment was the Spanish port of Vigo. However, the cargo had to first pass by the port of Algeciras, where the drugs should have been extracted by the criminal network.

In May 2023, to avoid possible interceptions in Colombia, the criminal network arranged a new shipment directly from Ecuador to Algeciras. This time, the drugs reached Spain and an associate of the network extracted the pallets from the port area.

The Spanish authorities intercepted this large shipment of 2.296 tonnes of cocaine while it was on its way to a nearby warehouse. The cocaine was hidden between legal shipments of bananas. During this intervention, Spanish officers arrested seven suspects. The Colombian and Spanish authorities seized 6.5 tonnes of cocaine in total, valued at about EUR 223 million on the illegal market.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.