The Spanish Civil Guard has seized the largest amount of synthetic cathinone found in Europe to date. Specifically, there are a total of 3.2 tons of this substance, which in the market would reach 61 million euros.
Cathinone is a stimulant present in the plant called khat, a shrub native to East Africa and southern Arabia, and whose consumption is usually produced by chewing the leaves and even in infusion. Its synthetic variants are more powerful than the natural compound and much more dangerous. The agents began the investigation at the beginning of the year when they obtained, during the course of another police operation carried out in France, information about the possible storage of various substances in port facilities in Barcelona.
Introduction into the European Union through Spain
The investigators were able to decipher that the organization had been carrying out import operations in large quantities of these substances. For this they used a compendium of three related business companies and customs specialists.
In order to evade inspection controls, they falsified customs declarations in such a way that the risk analysis capacity for this type of product was expressly annulled.
Exploitation and result of the operation
The investigation has uncovered a transnational criminal organization that created a complex business structure so that fraudulent business operations and those responsible for carrying them out were undetectable.
The Civil Guard has arrested a man of Spanish nationality in Barcelona and has investigated three business companies.
The rest of the members of the organization are in a situation of search, since they imparted most of the guidelines from other countries, thus hindering the directive traceability and its location.
This operation and the seizure of such a large quantity of this type of substance constitute a major blow to its supply in the rest of Europe.
The seizure has been possible thanks to the collaboration with the Functional Area of Health of the Delegation of the Government of Catalonia, the Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences of Barcelona, as well as with the Customs Administration of both the port and the airport of Barcelona.