It's an 'Amount of Drugs Never Seen Before in Galicia'

Some of the cocaine was sandwiched between pieces of frozen tuna
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 14, 2023 10:20 AM CST
Agents Seized 11 Tons of Cocaine. This Is Just Some of It
Part of a haul of 11 tons of cocaine is displayed in the patio of a police station in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023.   (AP Photo/Paul White)

Spanish authorities have confiscated 11 tons of cocaine and arrested 20 people tied to Balkan mafias in two different operations against the smuggling of the illegal drugs inside shipping containers, Spain's National Police said Tuesday. Police said the 16,500 pounds (or roughly 8 tons) of cocaine seized by agents in the northwestern port city of Vigo were hidden between pieces of frozen tuna. The Maritime Executive quotes police as reporting it was "an amount of drugs never seen before in Galicia"; Reuters echoes that, saying it was the largest-ever bust in Galicia, "the Atlantic region whose rough coastline—Spain's longest—has been used to smuggle drugs for decades."

Investigators said that a criminal organization was using a frozen seafood company as a front to bring the drugs from South America to Spain, reports the AP. A separate sting by police in the Mediterranean city of Valencia led to the seizure of 7,500 pounds of cocaine found in false bottoms of shipping containers in the eastern city's port. Police didn't reveal the exact dates of the operation, only indicating that they had been carried out recently and followed months of surveillance.

"The two operations have nothing to do with each other," an official with the Spanish police's Drugs and Organized Crime Unit said at a press conference, per AFP. "The only link between them lies in the fact that we believe that the organizations behind them are of Albanian origin. ... The Albanian mafias have been monopolizing the transport of drugs for some time. Not just in Europe, but also in Latin America." (More drug bust stories.)

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