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Spanish authorities seize record 9.5 tonne cocaine haul in Algeciras

Spanish authorities in the Port of Algeciras this week seized the largest haul of cocaine haul ever detected in Spain to date.

Nearly 9.5 tonnes of narcotics were found hidden inside banana boxes in a refrigerated maritime container that came from Ecuador.

Over 30 different logos were detected on the illicit shipment, corresponding to various European criminal organisations set to receive the haul.

The seizure was the result of a joint operation between Spain’s Policia Nacional and its Servicio de Vigilancia Aduanera.

The criminal organisation behind the shipment was responsible for supplying cocaine to the most powerful networks in Europe and had an extensive business network for shipping maritime containers from Ecuador to Spain, they said in a statement.

The initial investigations began when agents learned of a criminal organisation responsible for supplying cocaine from South America to Europe.

Investigators found that the network had a broad business structure for shipping the drug from Ecuador to Spain through various Spanish ports, primarily Algeciras and Vigo.

Investigators found that the organisation operated through a company dedicated to the international banana trade located in Machala, Ecuador.

From there, they shipped goods in maritime containers to various companies in Spain controlled by members of the criminal network.

After several operations, investigators confirmed the network's vast logistical capacity, capable of sending 40 containers monthly to Europe.

They discovered that some of these containers contained traces of narcotics.

From that point, the organisation's shipments were monitored and a batch of 15 containers was identified, presumably set to enter Europe in early August.

A surveillance operation was set up at the Port of Algeciras to inspect them.

Finally, on August 23, investigators located a refrigerated container with 9,436 kilograms of cocaine, marking the largest haul ever seized in Spain.

The drugs were hidden inside banana boxes and had over 30 different logos, corresponding to various European criminal organisations set to receive the shipment.

“This operation represents an unprecedented blow to one of the world's most significant criminal organizations in cocaine distribution, with the primary recipients being the main criminal networks in Europe,” the two law enforcement bodies said in a statement.

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