14 Apr, 2023 @ 13:30
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Europe’s biggest cocaine lab closed down by police in Spain’s Pontevedra region

Europe's Biggest Cocaine Lab Is Closed Down By Police In Spain's Pontevedra Region
Policia Nacional image

THE POLICIA NACIONAL has dismantled what it has described as the biggest cocaine laboratory in Europe, with 18 people arrested.

The lab in Pontevedra had the capacity to operate around the clock and could produce up to 200 kilos of cocaine every day.

The drug operation was run by an international criminal organization with connections to powerful Mexican and Colombian cartels.

“The members of the criminal organization had a high degree of sophistication and a clear division of roles,” the Policia Nacional said in a statement.

“On the one hand, the Colombians provided the human resources in the form of ‘cooks’ or laboratory chemists while the Mexicans provided the technical know-how for the correct extraction of coca base,” the statement continued.

“Finally, the Spaniards were in charge of the bulk of the operation, including managing the transportation of the substance from the country of origin (Colombia) to its reception in Pontevedra for its corresponding treatment in the laboratory, whose installation they were also in charge of, and the subsequent distribution of the final product throughout Spain.”

Police investigations revealed that two international criminal organizations from Colombia and Mexico joined forces to finance a large-scale cocaine lab capable of producing up to 6,000 kilos of cocaine hydrochloride in various phases.

A joint investigation between police in Spain, Columbia and Portugal resulted in the arrest of 18 members of the criminal gang in Madrid, Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, the Basque Country, and Pontevedra.

Among those detained were six Colombian and two Mexican citizens.

Authorities seized 1,300 kilos of cocaine base paste; 151 kilos of cocaine hydrochloride; over 23,000 litres of precursors; and four tons of chemicals used in the drug manufacturing process.

Additionally, a number of laboratory tools, documentation, cell phones, computers, high-end vehicles and up to 17 properties with an estimated value of €1.7 million were also impounded.

“The dismantled laboratory was of a magnitude unprecedented in Europe,” the police statement said.

“It was equipped with advanced air extraction systems and sophisticated refrigeration and heating equipment. All of this was perfectly compartmentalised in several areas in order to carry out the processing, separation, drying and packaging of the cocaine.”


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