POLICE in Murcia pulled over a lorry full of rotting vegetables and discovered over 220 kilos of marijuana with a retail value of €1.3 million.

The driver had connections to drug gangs in Almeria and despite the fact he was banned from leaving Spain due to previous convictions, the final destination was said to be Milan.

The fact he was well-known to the police led to his latest arrest after an off-duty officer spotted his lorry on the hard shoulder of the N-340a highway in Granada province.

The officer kept his presence a secret as he followed the truck at a distance but ended his surveillance in case he was spotted.

He contacted his colleagues in the certain belief that drugs were being transported and it was decided to stop the vehicle in the Murcia region on the A-7 near Lorca.

The suspect was inconsistent with his answers to questions and had no documents or labelling in regard to carrying perishable products or the strange route that he was taking.

The working theory was that he was picking up marijuana from clandestine plantations for export. His official consignment of tomatoes, zucchini, and vegetables was in an advanced state of decomposition, with the lorry’s refrigeration system disconnected.

The aim was to use the rotting stench to mask the characteristic smell of marijuana but police found the huge drugs stash in vacuum-sealed bags in zucchini boxes.

The driver was arrested for public health offences and jailed by an Almeria court.

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