Sophisticated “itinerant” synthetic drug laboratory dismantled in Catalonia

The Spanish Civil Guard, within the framework of the “HEISENBERG VI-CABARNA” operation, carried out in Cantabria, the Basque Country, León and Catalonia, has dismantled in the Catalan region of Vallés a laboratory for the production of synthetic drugs, one of the most sophisticated discovered in Spain with the capacity to produce a large amount of methamphetamine. Ten people have been arrested in the operation, four in Bizkaia, four in Barcelona and two in León.

70 kilos of crystal and powder methamphetamine, 790 liters of methamphetamine in different phases of crystallization, 60 liters of Piperonyl Methyl Ketone (PMK) and Phenyl Metal Propanone (BMK – P2P), two of the main elements for manufacturing the drug, have been seized. amphetamine, 112 kilos of other precursors and powder cutting substance and more than 1,700 liters of other precursor substances for the production of amphetamine and methamphetamine.

It should be noted that the laboratory was fully operational with utensils such as test tubes, flasks, heaters, low temperature coolers, evaporators, constant speed stirrers, low temperature circulators and refrigerators.
The investigation began last year, when the agents were able to verify the existence of a person residing in Bizkaia, who habitually received quantities of drugs that were delivered to him by the transporter of another criminal organization based in the province of Barcelona.

Continuing with the investigations, the Civil Guard located the laboratory where the drugs were manufactured and subsequently transported by a member of the organisation who did so at a national level. Two other members were also located who were in charge of distributing them internationally.

The dismantled organization had established its operations center in the Catalan region of Vallés, both for the production and distribution of synthetic drugs. Once prepared, they distributed it throughout several Spanish provinces such as Alicante, Bizkaia, Valencia or Andalusia, as well as several countries in the European Union.

It should be noted that one of the members of the organization lived in an intermediate room of a house in Granollers, where the laboratory was located, which posed a potential danger to people and property due to the storage of a large quantity of these products. chemicals when in an urban area.

Many of these intervened substances had a high degree of toxicity and were very flammable, such as methanol, which variations in humidity, pressure and thermal or mechanical changes can alter its explosive properties, which is why there was support from personnel and specialized means to safely dismantle the laboratory. To these risks must be added the environmental damage caused by the waste products generated in these laboratories, which in this case were discharged directly into the sewage network.

It has been confirmed that the laboratory could synthesize between 5 and 10 kilograms of drugs per day, which would have reached a final production of 1.5 tons of drugs.

Powerful exhaust fans with carbon filters to prevent odor

In any case, with regard to the quantity of drugs produced, the finished product seized, the quality of the laboratory setup and the knowledge of its operator, it can be stated that we are facing one of the most complex and sophisticated of those discovered so far, as well as one of the most productive. The laboratory had powerful air extractors with carbon filters to prevent the smell from being perceived by neighbors.

Travelling laboratory

The locations in which “the chemist” of the organization, now detained, has sporadically established laboratories have been in towns such as Derio (Bizkaia), Valencia de Don Juan (León) or Granollers. This has made the investigation very complex, since the detainees took strict security measures, with continuous changes in the location of the laboratory, sometimes at distances of 600 kilometers.