SAN ROQUE (Agencies) Mixed in amongst a cargo of genuine bananas from Ecuador, the National Police discovered some 450 kilos of very pure cocaine hydrochloride earlier this week. Four people were arrested in the operation, including Colombians and Spaniards. The drug was being sent to a storage facility in San Roque but members of the gang lived as far away as Madrid, Cádiz and Murcia, and used a legitimate fruit importing company as a cover set up by the gang specifically for the purpose of 'importing' cocaine from Central and South America to be cut and sold in the rapidly growing Spanish drug market. In fact, police reports say>>>that they had imported several containers of real bananas for a period of time, thus hoping for the Customs and Police agents to relax their vigilance. But they were not that lucky.
The recipients of the 'merchandise' were finally caught because the authorities received a tip off that a significant cargo of cocaine was about to be shipped from Ecuador. They were being watched as far back as January this year.
Eight containers full of plantains ('male' bananas and plátanos in Spanish) left for Algeciras towards the end of June. Three of them were dispatched through Customs in a hurry and delivered rapidly to a facility rented by the company in San Roque. They were being watched and further investigation led to the storage bay being searched. That in turn led to the discovery of the 'plastic bananas' inside which were hidden a total of 448 kilos of the substance.
The operation remains open, according to police sources, and further arrests are a possibility.