| 8.4°C Dublin

No scents Spanish police bust gang smuggling odourless 'cocaine charcoal' into Europe

"The drug became almost undetectable because its shape and colour was so similar to that of charcoal"

Close

Cops busted the gang that tried to disguise the cocaine as charcoal

Cops busted the gang that tried to disguise the cocaine as charcoal

Cops busted the gang that tried to disguise the cocaine as charcoal

Three people have arrested after Spanish police swooped on a gang that had been smuggling hundreds of kilos of cocaine into Europe by disguising it as charcoal. 

The smugglers used a complex chemical process to camouflage the drugs as charcoal in an effort to render it undetectable to sniffer dogs, Spanish authorities said in a statement.

Officers from Spain’s national police and Portugal’s judicial police launched an investigation last year after noticing that a trading company was using a variety of front organisations to carry out suspicious imports.

Close surveillance then led them to a port where the contents of two containers of charcoal tested positive for cocaine.

Officers discovered the gang had placed 30 sacks of “cocaine charcoal” among 1,364 sacks of real charcoal.

Officer from both jurisdictions then tracked the two containers as they were taken by lorry from Portugal to northern Spain, where their contents were due to be separated and the cocaine recovered in a laboratory.

Police moved in as the lorries arrived at the gang’s base on an industrial estate in the town of Medina del Campo, in Spain’s northern Castilla y León region.

Three people were arrested and 862 kilos of cocaine were seized.

“The modus operandi involved using a complex chemical process to camouflage the drugs as charcoal, a process that was carried out by the Mexican and Colombian cartels who supplied the alleged kingpin,” the Spanish force said in a statement.

“The drug became almost undetectable because its shape and colour was so similar to that of charcoal.

"Furthermore, the characteristic smell of cocaine had been eliminated, meaning it couldn’t be picked up by specialist narcotics dogs.”

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy