A TOTAL of 660 kilos of cocaine from two separate shipments were seized by the authorities after landing at Valencia port on the same day last week.
Both ships docked in Valencia on Thursday but the containers with the drugs were not detected until Friday – one before leaving the port towards its final destination and the second upon arrival at a food firm based in Valladolid (Castilla y Leon).
In the first case, border officials and Guardia Civil officers discovered a fake bottom in a cargo container of bananas from Colombia, which they selected for inspection given its route and contents.
Upon scanning the container, officers detected a double bottom with 300 one-kilo packets of cocaine that would have been impossible to spot with a naked eye check.
This shipment is of particular interest to the authorities, as it is the first drugs haul in a long time that has not arrived using the method known as ‘rip off’, in which the illicit substances are packed in with the legal cargo by traffickers without either the exporter nor the importer being aware of it.
The drugs are then ‘rescued’ from inside the container once it lands at the port, which is when the vast majority of police operations have been successfully carried out in Valencia over the last several years, with officers catching the ‘rescuers’ as they broke into the containers.
Police and the border authorities have launched an investigation to ascertain who was set to receive this shipment, as the method used would make recovery at the port impossible and would mean that the person receiving the container would be aware of and actively participate in the crime.
In fact, the second shipment seized on Friday was meant to have been retrieved by rescuers at Valencia port.
However, a mistake on their part meant no one collected the eight rucksacks containing 360 kilos of cocaine, which found their way by accident to the warehouse belonging to a food firm.
Workers discovered the drugs when they broke the seal to retrieve the legal cargo – namely panela, unrefined cane sugar from South America used as a sweetener – and immediately called the police.
According to the authorities, the arrival of both cargos within mere hours of each other confirms that the ‘Valencian route’ remains one of the preferred entry points for drugs into Europe.