For Spanish Police, a Drug-Smuggling First

Cops say they seized 3 underwater drones meant to carry 'large quantities of cocaine'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2022 3:00 PM CDT
Cops Seize 'Drone Submarines' Built for Drug Smuggling
The three drones are seen here.   (Spanish National Police via the BBC)

A probe that lasted more than a year has led to the arrest of eight and the seizure of three underwater drones that were apparently built to smuggle drugs across the Strait of Gibraltar. The BBC reports Spain's police force seized the unmanned submersibles—one completed and two still being put together—which authorities say were each designed to transport nearly 450 pounds of product from Morocco to Spain. As for what kind of product was meant to be transported, and by whom, the remotely controlled "drone submarines" were "to be delivered to French drug traffickers for the transport of large quantities of cocaine," per a police statement.

It's the first time "such purpose-made devices" have been discovered in Spain, per Reuters. The news agency reports that the hand-crafted drones, which included one constructed from a surfboard, were unearthed in warehouses in the southwestern port city of Cadiz, where a half-dozen large flying drones were also found, according to the head of Spain's Central Narcotics Brigade. The flying drones had a range of about 19 miles, which CBS News notes is more than enough to cross the 9-mile-wide span of water separating Europe and Africa.

The police statement notes that in addition to the "artisanal means of transport" found in Cadiz, the probe, which began in April 2021, also discovered cars or trailers that had been repurposed with double bottoms to smuggle drugs in. The eight people who were arrested were detained in Cadiz, Malaga, and Barcelona, and charged with drug trafficking crimes. They were said to be members of a criminal organization that had customers not only in Spain and France, but also Denmark and Italy, according to police. (Read more drones stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.