Customs Surveillance of the Tax Agency and the Spanish Civil Guard, in a joint operation, have seized 464 kilos of cocaine that were hidden inside an 11-ton crushing machine that arrived at the port of Valencia and whose declared destination was a company domiciled in Tres Cantos (Madrid).
Within the framework of the operation, three searches have been carried out in homes in Alicante and four people have been arrested as responsible for the events, one of them of Argentine nationality and the remaining three Spanish. The extraction of the drug from the machinery has been carried out with great difficulty over the last few days, to the point of requiring specialized equipment, given the characteristics of the concealment system and the weight of the machinery.The proceedings began as a result of a request for international collaboration issued by the National Police of Colombia and the Colombian prosecutor’s office (Directorate of the National Specialized Prosecutor’s Office against Drug Trafficking) for the execution of an international controlled delivery requested from the Anti-Drug Prosecutor’s Office of the National High Court Spanish, which directed the first phases of the investigation. The operation also had the cooperation of the National Drug Control Directorate of the Dominican Republic. According to complementary information received, once the drug was hidden inside the industrial machinery, it would be transported from the Cali area (Colombia) to the port of Santa Marta in the same country. There it would be placed in a maritime container and dispatched for export to the port of Valencia. A criminal group made up of Spanish citizens with links to Colombia would be in charge of organizing the export of the container with the machinery already contaminated with the cocaine hidden inside. As a result of the investigations carried out and prior to the arrival of the container in Spain, the investigators had managed to identify the main persons responsible for the criminal organization established in the Valencian Community, alleged recipients of the drug, and several warehouses linked to companies controlled by the organization. , which could be the destination of the container once it arrived in Spanish territory.
Container interception, searches and arrests
After the container left the port of Valencia, Customs Surveillance officials and Civil Guard agents designed a controlled delivery authorized by the Special Anti-Drug Prosecutor’s Office of the National Court. The container was transferred to a warehouse located in Silla (Valencia), where the organization unloaded its contents. Subsequently, the machinery was reloaded in a new vehicle that transported it to a warehouse located in La Nucía (Alicante). The organization carried out a new transfer to another vehicle, which transferred the merchandise to the place where the operational actions were finally carried out: a warehouse located in the town of Sueca (Valencia). All these transshipments generated added difficulty for the investigators to complete the follow-up successfully and without the organization noticing their presence. In Sueca’s warehouse, two people who were waiting to receive the machinery were arrested. Next, a total of 14 metal cylinders that were part of the industrial apparatus, an 11-ton grinding machine, were extracted. Inside the cylinders was the drug, for whose extraction the collaboration of a local fire department was requested. This work lasted throughout the day and the following day, given the complexity of the operation. The cylinders were finally transferred to the Valencia Customs facilities for storage, custody and subsequent expert analysis. Once it was verified that the substance hidden inside the cylinders was cocaine, three house searches were carried out with the result of the arrest of two other people, who were already under surveillance, as the heads of the criminal organization. In addition, three vehicles, a van, cash, a drone, two mobile phones and various computer equipment were seized. The detainees were handed over to the Investigating Court number 12 of Valencia. For three of them provisional prison was decreed. The fourth was released with a ban on leaving the national territory.
Recent history in Lleida
This method of concealing cocaine in industrial machinery has been used on other occasions to try to introduce drugs into our country. In fact, very recently the Tax Agency and the Civil Guard have carried out another operation, unrelated to this one, in which the drug concealment system was similar. At the beginning of the year, 620 kilos of cocaine were seized in the port of Barcelona, which was hidden in a 12-ton rotor. The Barcelona Customs Risk Analysis Unit detected possible anomalies in the shipment destined for Lleida. After opening it thanks to heavy industrial machinery, 537 packets of cocaine were found inside the rotor cylinder, with a market value of around 20 million euros.