Spanish police have seized 827,000 ecstasy tablets, 76kg of speed, 39.5kg of crystal meth and 217 litres of liquid amphetamine in the country’s largest confiscation of synthetic drugs.
Eleven people – from Spain, the Netherlands, Romania, Colombia and Italy – were arrested during a joint investigation by the Guardia Civil and national police forces, according to a statement. It said specialist officers had come under fire from a member of the gang while raiding one of their properties.
The gang – described as “the most important criminal organisation dedicated to the manufacture and trafficking of synthetic drugs in the history of Spanish drug trafficking” – funded its operations by smuggling huge quantities of hashish and marijuana to the UK and the Netherlands.
The smugglers hid the hashish and marijuana in three-phase electrical transformers that were shipped abroad with classic cars. Once the transformers arrived in the Netherlands, the hashish and marijuana were removed and replaced with synthetic drugs for the return journey.
“The next phase, once the synthetic drugs arrived in Spain, was processing,” said the statement. “The gang used ‘cooks’ – experts in making speed, methamphetamine or MDMA – working in two laboratories that the criminals had set up in Barcelona.”