Cocaine disguised as wood


Forty pallets from Colombia have been seized in the Spanish port of Valencia and 12 people arrested.

The drugs arrived on a Colombian ship into the Spanish port of Valencia on 30 November.

Police have arrested six men from Liverpool as part of an global drugs bust which involved 1.4 tons of compressed cocaine disguised as wooden shipping pallets.

Pallets had been made by compressing the cocaine powder, and the substance was also disguised as charcoal. A laboratory in Madrid is suspected of having been used to extract the drug. The huge raid on a shipping

container in Valencia, Spain, saw one-and-a-half tonnes of the super-strength Class A drug sat on wooden pallets in a bid to disguise them as industrial materials.

On the latest arrests, Spanish police said: “Two of the Colombians arrested in Spain are expert cooks, deployed to our country in order to reverse the concealment process and thus access the cocaine”.

The four men arrested in Liverpool are on bail pending further enquiries, while the two men in Dubai are still remanded in custody. Greg McKenna, NCA Regional Head of Investigations said, “We believe that the charcoal

company was a front for an industrial-sized lab where cocaine was extracted from pallets and charcoal, processed and repackaged for onward distribution across Europe”. “This seizure of cocaine, the shutting down of

the lab and the eleven arrests will have disrupted criminal activity across the whole of Europe”. Smugglers have used increasingly ingenious methods to get the drug past 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.

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