A successful conclusion to a joint operation between the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard, in collaboration with the DEA and HSI agencies of the United States

3,800 kilograms of cocaine seized in the port of Valencia in a month during the state of alarm

Six containers have been intervened in which the narcotic substance was hidden by means of different concealment methods such as foil packages, sugar sacks, pineapple pulp and even between the frame of an gyroplane.

The exponential increase in maritime container traffic and the extraordinary situation of Covid19 has made Valencia port one of the most sensitive to drug trafficking in our country.

On June 19, agents of the National Police and Civil Guard completed the CRANKBROOK MARCHICA operation with the intervention of 3,800 kilograms of cocaine from South America, as well as the disarticulation of a transnational criminal organisation dedicated to the extraction of large quantities of narcotic drugs from the port of Valencia.

The operation has resulted in the arrest of 11 people, all of them of Spanish nationality, except for 2 Dutch and 1 subject from the Ivory Coast, as well as with the intervention of 5 vehicles, 1 trailer truck, several high-end watches and various equipment, such as frequency inhibitors or encrypted telephone terminals.

The first investigations began during the month of April, when different information was received through various channels of international police cooperation, as well as from the American agencies DEA and HSI, all pointing to a possible increase in the arrival of containers capable of containing some type of narcotic to the port of Valencia, taking advantage of the great boom in maritime traffic of the aforementioned port station.

In this way, a joint work team was created between the two police forces and their most specialized units in the fight against drug trafficking, in order to analyze all the information received and dismantle the criminal fabric that may be behind it.

COVID-19 and Alarm Status

This analysis process shows how several international criminal organizations have taken advantage of the prevailing situation in Spain due to the health alert produced by COVID-19, as well as the subsequent implementation of the state of alarm, to try to introduce large consignments of cocaine from of South America in our country, for storage and subsequent distribution throughout Europe, all in the face of the assumption of criminal organizations that controls and investigative activity would be less on the part of the Spanish authorities.

This joint working team quickly obtained its first results and in just over a month they have seized 3,800 kilograms of cocaine in 6 containers from different South American countries, hiding different amounts of narcotic drug inside, either through the known “blind hooks” , or hidden in the goods themselves, as is the case with shipments of folio packages, inside sugar sacks, in drums of pineapple pulp, California nuts, and even between the frame of an autogyro.

The operation has also focused on analyzing possible criminal structures in the interior of the port, and it can be corroborated that various personnel with access to different port facilities used this privileged situation or provided it to third parties to access and “rescue or recover” different items. of drug.

6 containers; different concealment methods

Regarding the intervened containers, one of them came from the United States with legal cargo, specifically with California walnuts, being “contaminated” at some point of transit in Panama or Colombia, introducing backpacks with more than half a ton of cocaine inside with the well-known “blind hook” method.

Another of them arrived at the port of Valencia at the beginning of June, using a more sophisticated method of introduction than the previous one, the police known as “company to company”, where a merchandise is chartered between which the drug hides, pretending to be a legal import between two companies in the same sector. In this case, these were foil packages from a cellulose in Brazil. This method stands out for the difficulty that its detection entails for the investigating units, since the chosen companies are companies with a high legal maritime commercial movement and a commercial history that is in principle beyond suspicion. Two arrests occurred.

One of the strongest blows to this organization was in the third and fourth of the intervened containers, from which they planned to extract the drug the same day, both located in the port’s transit terminal. For this, members of the same, acceded in a trailer truck to the terminal with the intention of violating the seals of the containers and extracting the drug. On this occasion, it was possible to arrest 9 people directly involved in the investigated events, while 5 vehicles, a trailer truck and various encrypted telecommunications equipment and frequency inhibitors were intervened, all to circumvent possible police investigations.

Just a few days ago, the last container, from Costa Rica, was managed to intervene, transporting 1,862 kilograms of cocaine inside, hidden in backpacks prepared for extraction in a shipment of pineapple pulp. It is not usual to introduce such a large batch of cocaine without hiding the drug between the cargo inside the container.

Thus, it is an operation carried out during the COVID-19 phase following the guidelines of the Ministry of the Interior to activate and influence investigative actions in those areas that are sensitive to being used or exploited by criminal organizations during the state of alarm.

This operation has been coordinated by the Special Delegate Prosecutor for Drugs of Valencia and carried out jointly by investigators from the National Police and the Civil Guard, with the collaboration of the Tax Agency port inside the port.