A SERIES of busts by Spanish police has led to Interpol issuing a world-wide alert warning of drugs dealers operating under the guise of takeaway delivery drivers.
In early April, the Police Nacional identified and arrested people dressed as food delivery drivers in Alicante and Valencia.
The suspects were caught delivering cocaine and marihuana by bicycle, motorcycle and car. Some of the drugs had been stashed inside the false bottoms of home delivery backpacks.
After receiving reports of similar cases in other countries – including an incident in Ireland where Gardai officers found eight kilos of cocaine and two handguns in pizza boxes – Interpol issued a ‘purple notice’.
This gives information on objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals – information that law enforcement organisations from the agency’s 194 member nations can access through secure communications channels.
Stephen Kavanagh, Interpol’s Executive Director of Police Services said: “As criminals continue to adapt their activities to a world upended by Covid-19, our purple notices are essential tools in enabling police around the world to learn from each other’s successes and address shifting crime patterns.”
He added: “It is thanks to Spain, and other countries which are sharing vital policing information via Interpol that we can ensure law enforcement worldwide is not only kept up-to-date on emerging crime threats but enabled to deal with them.”
Carlos Vázquez Ara, Principal Commissioner of the Spanish Policia Nacional said that country-wide lockdowns have sharply increased demand for home delivered food and delivery drivers are a common sight on otherwise deserted streets.
Delivery riders may be complicit or unwitting links in drug transportation.
In some cases legitimate food delivery drivers willingly delivered drugs on behalf of criminal organisations for financial gain.
In others, drivers have been used as unwitting drug mules while yet others have been fake drivers using food delivery paraphernalia as a cover.