A CLUMSY worker who dropped a box of ‘A4 paper’ that turned out to contain cocaine has led police to uncover nearly 1.5 tonnes of the illegal drug.
The unsuspecting office clerk called in police when he accidently dropped the box and the narcotics spilled out.
Catalan police searched the Barcelona company’s store room to find that 800 boxes marked as containing A4 paper, actually held a total of 1,413 kilos of cocaine.
The boxes had originally come from Brazil.
Two people were arrested in Spain and the investigation revealed that 10 people had been smuggling drugs from Brazil as part of a criminal organisation.
To launder the money they gained from drug trafficking, the suspects created a whole business structure with different companies, including real estate investments and fashion stores in Barcelona.
Another way to launder money was to use people (‘mulas’) that periodically made small cash deposits at several bank branches.
The initial discovery was made in 2018, but the investigation was only completed at the start of February.
Regional Catalan police carried out 13 simultaneous house and company searches to dismantle the smuggling organisation, and, together with the Policia Nacional, carried out one house search on the Balearic Island of Mahon.
Assisted by Europol, the Central Narcotics Unit and the Central Money Laundering Unit of the regional Catalan police (Mossos D’esquadra) arrested 14 people, with 10 being remanded in custody.
They are suspected of trafficking cocaine, money laundering and membership of a criminal organisation.