SPAIN: Spanish police have destroyed a highly complex, international facility where teams of Colombian and Mexican experts worked to generate up to 200kg of cocaine per day.
The largest cocaine production plant in Europe was raided by police from Spain’s Polica Nacional, along with partners from Portugal and Colombia, and 1,300 kg of base paste and 151 kg of processed cocaine was also found there. It is the largest cocaine-producing factory in Europe.
The Policía Nacional reported that a massive laboratory in Pontevedra was used to transform base paste into cocaine hydrochloride. The criminal organisation was highly sophisticated and used security precautions such as aliases, decoy vehicles, and a stringent communications protocol. Its members were well-organized and used aliases, decoy vehicles, and a stringent communication protocol.
Investigators discovered a criminal organisation with connections to Colombian cocaine suppliers in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, sparking a probe. They found a home near Madrid and an industrial area in Pontevedra where supplies for the lab were maintained.
Police uncovered a large-scale criminal operation involving Colombian “cooks” and two Mexicans who were experts at removing cocaine base paste from stone-crushing equipment.
The Spaniards were the main players, as they were in charge of shipping drugs from their native nation of Colombia to Pontevedra, where they were processed and supplied around the nation.
Police located a large lab in Pontevedra, Spain, and found three South American individuals who had been taken there under tight protection. The stone-crushing equipment was transported from Colombia to Portugal, and Spanish detectives alerted their counterparts in both countries when they realised the drugs were being transported.
Authorities discovered that Spanish citizens were working with two powerful criminal organisations to finance a laboratory capable of producing 6,000kg of cocaine.
The facility was “on a scale never before seen in Europe” and had high-tech heating, cooling, and air extraction equipment. It was set up for the processing, separation, drying, and packaging of cocaine.
Police made 18 arrests, conducted 14 searches, and stopped a van carrying 100kg of cocaine in Madrid. Seven months after the Polica Nacional revealed the site of the first cocaine production facility in Spain, the mega-lab was uncovered.
Drug gangs have been using Galicia’s coastline for years, but recent intelligence suggests a change in strategy. Labs similar to those found in South American jungles are now being built in Europe, allowing criminal organisations to cut their losses in the event of police seizures.
The Polica Nacional claimed that the lab’s discovery and closure prevented “devastating environmental consequences” by preventing 27 tonnes of chemical products from being dumped into nearby rivers.