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Cocaine worth 100 million euros washed up on Canary beach 

PAGE 14 COCAINE WORTH

A trail of cocaine worth 100 million euros on the black market was wash-ed up on a beach in the Canaries.

Police say the haul of nearly three tons was one of the biggest ever in Spain and have so far arrested 17 people for being involved in a massive drug smuggling operation.

The cocaine was of the highest purity and was brought into the Canaries from South America in pneumatic boats which met “mother ships” in the middle of the ocean before bringing the bales back to shore.

The gang, which carried out a dress rehearsal just two days before the real landing, was caught red-handed after being stalked by the police for more than a year.

They tried to get the cocaine into Gran Canaria by using a beach in the municipality of Mogan and thought they had succeeded under the cover of darkness.

But drug squad officers were waiting for them and had to use an army of vans to confiscate the 120 cocaine packets, many of which fell into the sea.

Police had been tracking a number of suspects in Huelva and Madrid on the Spanish mainland who suddenly moved to the Canaries in what was believed to be the start of the smuggling plan.

The cocaine was packed into 125 bales with head of the Las Palmas drugs unit, José Antonio Ayuso saying the total weight of three tons was one of the largest caches from a transshipment of drugs in the sea in recent years.

Those 2,875 kilos of cocaine, of great purity, could have reached a value of 100 million euros on the black market, according to the estimates of the police.

In the operation, the Security Forces have seized the two pneumatic boats used for the landing of the drugs, an M-16 assault rifle with ammunition and a semi-automatic pistol, as well as three vans, eight cars and a motorcycle.

Further arrests are pending.