Spanish customs agents have seized an eight tonne shipment of cocaine from the small Latin American country of Suriname. It was hidden in a container disguised as a power generator in the southern port of Algeciras, the Agencia Tributaria tax and customs authority said in a statement on Monday.
The haul of cocaine is one of the largest ever intercepted in Spain. It was found inside a metal structure made with a special alloy that was designed to confuse the customs agents’ scanning equipment
However, the scanner managed to detect that the structure contained ‘a large quantity of merchandise’ and so the customs agents forced it open to discover eight tonnes of ‘very high purity cocaine’.
The drug smugglers had planned a route designed to make the discovery of the cargo’s true contents as difficult as possible. From Suriname it travelled to Panama and from there to Algeciras. Its next destination was Leixoes in Portugal, from where it was to be transported by road back to Spain.
Three people have been arrested, customs agents said, including the person who received the shipment.
Spain is one of the main entry points for drugs into Europe given its close ties with Latin America, which is the main source of cocaine, and its proximity to Morocco, a key source of cannabis resin.