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Six tons of cocaine worth 210 million euros hidden 

PAGE 18 picture 591 Six tons of cocaine  woth 210 million euros hidden inside shipment of bananas

Police have found a record breaking six tons of cocaine, worth 210 million euros, hidden in a shipment of bananas.

An international gang had hidden more than 5,200 pills under the fruit as part of a drug smuggling operation from Colombia to Spain.

Spain’s Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said it was the largest cache of this type of drug seized in Spain so far this century and one of the largest in Europe.

Three people have so far been arrested, the leader, of Spanish nationality, and his two collaborators, with Honduran and Portuguese nationality. In addition, two other people are being investigated.

The operation, coden-amed “Nativity”, was carried out in the Spanish port of Algeciras when officers raided a ship loaded with bananas. It had left Colombia for its final destination of El Prat.

The port of Algeciras usually deals with around five million containers a year so the gang had hoped the huge haul of cocaine, of great purity, would slip through the net.

The shipment had been organised under the cover of a legimate fruit and veg company registered in Barcelona which sent out six containers. The first two were cleared but the cocaine was found in false sections under bunches of bananas.

“In total, 5,299 high-purity cocaine pills, weighing a little more than one kilogram each, were counted, pressed in a rectangular brick-like shape with several different identification marks, wrapped in adhesive tape. Its market value would have exceeded 210 million euros,” said a police spokesman.

The seizure carried out in Algeciras is the largest of cocaine made by Spanish police forces in the last 18 years, the largest amount intervened in a container in Spain and the second largest in the history of drug trafficking in Spain in all means of transport. In 1999, 7.6 tons of cocaine was seized from a boat intercepted in the high seas.