Spanish National Police have seized two tonnes of cocaine worth more than 180 millon Euros in banana shipments in a coordinated operation with the Columbian authorities.
Eight people were arrested in the operation to shut down a huge drugs pipeline from Colombia to Europe.
One load – containing 1.3 tonnes (2,866 lbs) of cocaine – was seized by Colombia’s Anti-Narcotics Directorate in the port of Cartagena on 4th March.
Another raid saw 650 kilogrammes (1,433 lbs) of the drug with 90 per cent purity seized in Vigo, Galicia, on 25th April, one of Spain’s busiest ports.
Spanish officials said that in both cases the drug was hidden inside two pallets of bananas.
A Spanish National police video shows heavily armed officers battering their way into one home and handcuffing suspects.
Later in the footage police can be seen searching banana boxes and pulling out packages of cocaine hidden under the fruit.
National Police and Spain’s Tax Agency began looking into the case last summer after a tip off identifying Vigo as a major trafficking hub.
A Tax Agency spokesperson said in a statement obtained by the Newsflash Agency: “The organisation is said to have been very active in the port of Algeciras, led by a historic drug trafficker who operated in the Campo de Gibraltar, and who was now trying to open up a new way of introducing narcotics through the north of the peninsula, taking advantage of the fresh fruit trade routes with South America.”
After strengthening controls, customs caught the drugs immediately when they arrived at Port of Vigo last month.
Eight suspects were seized, including four who had planned to supervise the shipment of some of the cocaine to holiday hotspots like the Coasta del Sol.
A further four were arrested in Malaga, where police also seized EUR 58,000 in cash.
Police said: “The customs authorities acting in the port of Vigo, intensifying controls with the aim of reaffirming the position of the Vigo area as a territory impermeable to criminal organisations, detected the people behind this organisation.
“From that moment on, led by the Anti-Drugs Prosecutor’s Office of the Audiencia Nacional, joint investigations were coordinated with the National Police with the aim of arresting those responsible.”