Portuguese, Spanish police bust huge pineapple cocaine ring

Portuguese, Spanish police bust huge pineapple cocaine ring

Portuguese, Spanish police bust huge pineapple cocaine ring

Updated 18 January 2018, 17:00 AEDT

Police in Portugal and Spain seize hundreds of kilograms of cocaine hidden inside pineapples, and arrest nine gang members.

Police in Portugal and Spain said they had seized hundreds of kilograms of cocaine hidden inside pineapples, and arrested nine members of a gang that had transported the drug from South America.

Key points:

  • 745kg of cocaine shipped to Europe from Panama hidden pineapples
  • Police found drug laboratories in Madrid
  • Iberian Peninsula is a major entry point for cocaine and other drugs to Europe

The seizure, from shipping containers, was part of an ongoing investigation across both countries that started in April 2017.

Aside from the 745kg of cocaine seized and the arrests, police also dismantled a laboratory where the drug was cut with additives.

The Spanish Interior Ministry said in a press release that the cocaine was packed in a cylindrical manner, covered in yellow wax to appear as if made of the fruit, then covered by previously emptied out pineapple skins.

Six police records showed that two hydraulic presses, three packaging machines, and over 400,000 euros in cash were among the things found in the raids.

Police said the gang members, led by two Colombian brothers, had laboratories in the municipalities of Pinto and Nuevo Baztan near the Spanish capital.

They said the gang stored their cocaine in Terrasa, Barcelona, before transporting it to their Madrid laboratories every 15 to 20 days.

The agents determined that the cocaine that was stored in pineapples travelled from Panama to the port of Lisbon by sea.

"This organised international group had repeatedly brought large quantities of cocaine to the European continent," Portuguese investigators said.

The Iberian Peninsula is a major entry point for cocaine and other drugs to Europe, either directly from Latin America or via North and West Africa.

Reuters