Colombian drug traffickers get more original every year. On Friday this week, authorities in Spain seized a shipment of what looked like bags of coal, loaded on what appeared to be wooden pallets, but the pallets turned out to be made from cocaine, along with a fair amount of the “coal.”
According to a post on the National Police website (Spanish language), two Colombian citizens were arrested in the port of Valencia, Spain on Friday after Spain’s National Police intercepted a 1.4 ton shipment of wooden pallets, which were used to support a shipment of bags of coal, allegedly for use by a chemical company in Spain.
On closer inspection, it was found the so-called wooden pallets actually consisted of compressed cocaine, disguised to look like wood. When looking more closely at the bags of coal loaded on to the pallets, it turned out much of that so-called coal was also, in fact, cocaine.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) December 12, 2015
During the investigation, 12 members of a drug trafficking organization responsible for the shipment from Colombia were also detained. The other two Colombian citizens turned out to be expert “cooks,” put in place to undo the elaborate disguise used by the drug traffickers and to extract the pure cocaine at its destination.
The Spanish authorities have been keeping an eye on a number of individuals living in Spain since September 2014 and discovered the drug traffickers had formed a cover company to both import the drugs in their disguised form and also to process the cocaine once it was in the country. They would then transport the newly minted drugs to their customers.
First of all, a member of the group of drug traffickers was arrested in Madrid and a laboratory, set up in Spain’s capital to process the drugs, was dismantled. The arrested suspect was also carrying three kilograms of cocaine, hidden inside his vehicle at the time.
Further investigations finally led to an industrial warehouse in the Valencian town of Chiva, which was to be used to store the drugs prior to their extraction into pure cocaine, ready for sale.
This led the police to intercept a container holding 24,000 pounds of coal in 600 bags at the port of Valencia and on closer inspection, officials found that three of the bags of coal actually contained 120 kilograms of a carbon composite of cocaine, brought in by the Colombian drug traffickers.
The agents then inspected what were supposed to be wooden pallets, only to find that 40 of these pallets, with a total weight of 1.4 tons, were actually made of compressed cocaine, disguised to look just like wood (see image above).
It turns out a further six of the drug traffickers involved in the heist were also arrested in Liverpool, England.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 12, 2015
Spain still retains close ties with its former colonies in Latin America, which makes the country the main entry port used by drug traffickers to bring cocaine into Europe, but the Spanish police keep catching them in the act.
For this reason, the Colombian drug traffickers are coming up with more and more ingenious methods of getting the drugs past the eyes of Spanish customs. As reported by The Local, in recent years cocaine has been discovered inside breast implants, inside a plaster cast on a man’s allegedly broken leg, in a wig, hidden within a banana shipment and also as a 42-piece crockery set. However, the latest attempt of Colombian drug trafficking is most likely the most original yet.
[Photos courtesy Spain’s National Police]