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Cocaine network based in Tenerife brought in a million euros a month 


Police in the Canary Islands have dismantled a major drug smuggling and money laundering operation said to have brought in over one million euros a month for the masterminds behind it.

Seven people have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the regular shipment of cocaine from the mainland to the archipelago and a restaurant closed down in north Tenerife which was alleged to be the cover for the huge amounts of money being produced.

The Civil Guard led Operation Tridentis which involved raids and arrests in the municipalities of Grana-dilla de Abona, Arona and Los Llanos de Aridane.

The cocaine was hidden in secret compartments in lorries. Police said they were so cleverly constructed that only a secret sequence of instructions involving switch-ing on the lights, windscreens etc would open up the hidden spaces.

Another system consisted of the manufacture of a com-partment attached to the chassis on the underside of the car, which was closed with a metal cover with anchors provided with a hole that, using a punch key, mechanically activated the opening of the access cover to the hiding compartment.

One shipment was caught in the act as cocaine was being loaded onto a truck in the port of Santa Cruz and destined for Las Palmas in Gran Canaria.

Police said the cocaine network was expanding its activities in Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

During a series of raids, a total of ten kilos of cocaine were seized, three of hashish, a high value real estate, 21 vehicles, more than 9,000 euros in cash, numerous mobile phones, a hydraulic press, as well as various chemical compounds for the cutting and adulteration of cocaine. In addition, a company was intervened, a restaurant was sealed and numerous bank accounts were blocked.

The seven people arrested included three of Colombian origin, two men and one woman, three Spanish men of Canarian origin and one man of Moroccan origin, aged between 36 and 50 years.

All of them have been remanded in custody and further arrests have not been ruled out although police are confident the network has been thwarted.