Spain’s National Police said a criminal organisation with “great logistics capacity” and operating through a banana company in Ecuador is behind a 9.5-tonne cocaine shipment seized from a refrigerated container at the port of Algeciras.
The drugs were hidden in boxes of bananas and had 30 different logos that police believe represent different groups that were to receive the shipment.
“The criminal organisation — responsible for the supply of cocaine to the most powerful networks in Europe — had an extensive business network for the shipment of maritime containers from Ecuador to Spain,” the police said.
Not only did the unnamed criminal organisation rely on a sophisticated logistics network that could move 40 containers of bananas per month, it also operated through a company at the Ecuadorian port of Machala involved in the international banana trade, officials said in a statement.
The drug bust was announced on Friday as part of a joint operation, dubbed Operation Nano, of the National Police and the Spanish Tax Agency’s Customs Vigilance Service uncovered what they described as the largest cocaine shipment to date in Spain.
The operation was launched after officials learned of the criminal business network linking Ecuador to the ports of Vigo and Algeciras.
The Tax Agency said it had been watching 15 containers expected to arrive in Spain this month before the inspection that led to Friday’s bust.
“This operation has been an unprecedented blow to one of the most important criminal organisations worldwide in the distribution of cocaine whose recipients were the main criminal networks in Europe,” the National Police said.
Officials did not name the vessel involved.
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