'Fake pilgrims' smuggled cocaine to Lourdes: Spanish police

10th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spanish police have broken up a cocaine trafficking network that used courriers pretending to be pilgrims heading for the Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes in France, they said Tuesday.

Police arrested 17 people, seized 36.6 kilogrammes (80 pounds) of cocaine and discovered a processing lab in the northeastern city of Barcelona as part of the operation, which began last year, they said in a statement.

The gang brought the cocaine to Spain using courriers who arrived by air from Latin America.

Some of the courriers pretended to be pilgrims who travelled to Lourdes in southwestern France before taking the drugs to Barcelona.

Spain's close ties with its former colonies in Latin America, a major cocaine producing region, and its extensive coastline have made it Europe's main entry point for the drug.

© 2010 AFP

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