Spain seizes 11 tonnes of hashish in countrywide raid

23rd January 2015, Comments 0 comments

Spanish police said Friday they had seized 11 tonnes of hashish and detained 55 people across the country as part of an operation targeting a Moroccan drug trafficking ring.

Police also seized two million euros ($2.2 million) in cash as well as several weapons, including two assault rifles, as part of the operation which follows a two-year investigation.

Raids were carried out throughout the country, including Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and the Spanish exclave of Ceuta located on Morocco's Mediterranean coastline.

The suspected leaders of the ring were among the 55 people who were detained.

"This is a criminal gang according to the European Union's criteria to define this type of organisation. It had a hierarchical structure... it used money laundering and tried to corrupt institutions," Spanish police commissioner Jose Manuel Calleja told a news conference.

Police believe the gang intended to distribute the hashish across Europe, mainly to Britain, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

The gang would smuggle the drugs into Spain on speedboats or hidden inside the fuel tanks of trucks.

Moroccan and French police took part in the investigation into the gang.

Spain's proximity to north Africa, a major source of hashish, and its close ties with its former colonies in Latin America, a key cocaine-producing region, have made it the main gateway into Europe for narcotics.

Since June 2013, Spanish authorities have seized more than 100 tonnes of hashish in various operations.

© 2015 AFP

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