Spanish police say they have seized dozens of pallets made out of 1.4 tonnes of compressed cocaine that was made to look like wood.
They also uncovered cocaine disguised as charcoal as part of the same shipment from Colombia to Valencia. The authorities have arrested at least 11 people in Spain, Britain and Dubai.
Spanish customs officials say in recent years they have found cocaine in breast implants, a wig and even a plaster cast encasing a man’s broken leg.
Police suspect that smugglers used a charcoal company in Spain as a front to import the cocaine. The drugs were then extracted from pallets and charcoal, processed and distributed around Europe. Spain is seen as the main entry point in Europe for drug smugglers from South America.
The UK National Crime Agency said 11 people had been arrested: six men from Liverpool held in the UK and Dubai, and another five – two Colombians, two
Peruvians and a Spaniard – in the Spanish region of Valencia.
A Spanish police statement (in Spanish) said a total of 12 people had been arrested, including a man held in Madrid several months ago.