Spanish police have dismantled a gang accused of smuggling huge amounts of pure methamphetamine into Europe in 25-tonne blocks of marble.
Five alleged members of the gang, based in Alicante in the eastern Spanish region of Valencia, were arrested after cops raided 19 homes and seized 752 kilogrammes (1,658 lbs) of pure methamphetamine from marble blocks.
A press statement from the Spanish Civil Guard and National Police said the investigation began in August 2019 when officers started looking at a company which had begun importing 25-tonne blocks of marble from Mexico.
The blocks were reportedly shipped to the port of Valencia but the company reportedly did not have the facilities to deal with the huge blocks, prompting suspicion.
Officers saw that the cargo was being taken to the town of Novelda, in the province of Alicante, with investigators believing the marble importation company was a front for drug smugglers.
In October 2019 officers tracked four marble blocks which had arrived in Valencia, with one of the blocks having strange markings on its base.
That block was taken to a quarry in the La Romana area where it was reportedly buried under a large amount of debris from the quarry.
Officers later found 352 kilogrammes of methamphetamine hidden in PVC packets inside cylindrical containers inside the block which can be seen in the images.
Holes had been made in the marble, where the plastic tubes were then stored, before the holes were covered up, according to the police.
Some days later, border agents found five other containers being imported by the company at the port of Valencia. After checking eight of them, it was found that one of them had the same markings and contained 400 kilogrammes of methamphetamine hidden using the same system.
A spokesperson from the National Police told Central European News (CEN) that all five of those arrested were Spanish citizens.
During raids, cops seized 150,000 EUR (130,669 GBP) in cash, five weapons, several mobile phones, documentation and a total of 26 blocks of marble which had nothing hidden inside. Fourteen vehicles were seized and seven bank accounts were blocked.
The investigation is ongoing and it is unclear if the suspects have been charged.