Spanish police find 'largest cocaine lab in Europe'
Spanish police said Tuesday they have uncovered the "largest and most sophisticated" cocaine laboratory in Europe, arresting 25 people and seizing 300 kilos (660 pounds) of the drug in an operation near Madrid.
The operation, the result of a two-year-old investigation, enabled officers to dismantle the lab "just before it began operating," they said in a statement.
Police also seized 33 tonnes of chemicals used to process cocaine, two million euros (2.7 million dollars) in cash, weapons, 18 luxury vehicles, 470 mobile phones as well as well as share certificates worth some 50 million euros.
They described it "the largest and most sophisticated clandestine laboratory for cocaine in Europe."
The gang smuggled the drug into Spain and then processed it for sale.
The traffickers took exceptional security measures, using armed bodyguards and "security experts to foil any police operation," the statement said.
Spain's close ties with its former colonies in Latin America, a major cocaine-producing region, have made it a major gateway into Europe for drug traffickers.
© 2011 AFP