The Spanish National Police said they have made the largest seizure ever of methamphetamine — along with a sizable amount of cocaine — while busting an international gang that smuggled drugs into Barcelona’s port in hollowed-out concrete blocks.
Seized in coordinated raids in several countries was what the Spanish Civil Guard described as the largest haul of crystal meth in history: 2,549 kilograms. The operation also netted 1,370 kilograms of cocaine.
The raids took place in Barcelona and other cities in Spain, along with the Netherlands and in Turkey, and resulted in the arrest of 16 people, the guard reports.
The criminal organization was based in Spain and in the Netherlands, and was linked to the Mexican Beltran Leyva cartel, authorities said.
The police said that the criminal organization was specialized in smuggling cocaine and methamphetamine into Europe through the port of Barcelona, the capital of the Catalonia region in northeast Spain.
“With this police intervention, the main route of introduction into Europe of these narcotic substances through the port of Barcelona is considered dismantled,” the guard said. “Those responsible controlled a new way to introduce the drug, which consisted of creating hidden spaces in concrete blocks, making it undetectable before port controls.”
The authorities began investigating in 2017 after receiving information about an export company that was suspected of being used by Mexican cartels to smuggle large quantities of drugs into European countries through Spain.
The company, which has not been named but which the police said was located in Mexico, is believed to be working with the cartel, which hid the drugs in precast, concrete thermal blocks typically used in building construction.
The aim of the cartel was to flood the European market with methamphetamine using historical cocaine routes that they dominated, authorities said.