Most drugs bound for Europe come through Spain
23 February 2004, LAS PALMAS – Spain intercepted more than two thirds of the drugs seized in the European Union in 2003, the head of the National Drugs Plan said Monday.
23 February 2004
LAS PALMAS – Spain intercepted more than two thirds of the drugs seized in the European Union in 2003, the head of the National Drugs Plan said Monday.
Spain confiscated 45 tonnes of cocaine and 738 tonnes of cannabis.
Cesar Pascual said this level of seizures was "highly successful".
Pascual made his remarks after the seizure of five tonnes of cocaine found on a boat called Lugo in the Canary Islands during 'Operation Ring'.
The operation began in September to investigate a drugs gang made up of Americans and Spaniards.
It reached its climax in the past two weeks when the Lugo was boarded by a Customs boat a thousand miles south-west of the Cape Verde, off the west African coast.
In high seas, Customs officers arrested seven people on the boat, all Colombians.
Meanwhile in Galicia, police arrested another seven members of the same group, six Spaniards and one Ecuadorian.
Pascual said the objective of the operation was to dismantle the gang and to get to the profits from their drug-trafficking.
He said most of the five tonnes of cocaine which was found on the ship was bound for sale in Spain and other parts of Europe.
Pascual said Spanish authorities had intercepted large quantities of cocaine and cannabis in the past few years.
He added that proof of this was that the large quantities seized could not all have sold in the Spanish market and some would have been sold in other parts of Europe.
"It is impossible that in Spain the market could consume 45 tonnes of cocaine with a high purity which has been seized," said Pascual.
Last year was a "specially effective year" in the fight against the cocaine trade, said Pascual, with more than 45 tonnes seized.
In comparison, only 17 tonnes were captured in 2002.
The quantity of cannabis seized had also risen to 738 tonnes in 2003, compared with 564 the year before.
But the amount of heroin seized fell slightly from 275 kg to 273 between 2003 and the previous year.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news