Police in Malaga, Spain reported making 11 arrests and the confiscation of a ton of cocaine hidden inside pineapples shipped from Costa Rica. This is the not the first time illegal drugs have been found shipped in fruits and vegetables from our country.

How the drugs were concealed and police smashing into the contents (inset). Image from Spain’s national police.

The Spanish police said the Thursday operation dismantled a family organization allegedly involved in drug trafficking in the southeastern Costa del Sol region that used real estate and financial infrastructure to forge an appearance of legality and avoid police and customs checks.

Among the arrested is a 72-year-old man, the leader of the family group, who allegedly used one of his businesses to transport cocaine from Latin America – on this occasion from Costa Rica. The gang reportedly ran one of the largest drug trafficking operations in Europe and had been in business for more than 40 years.

Investigators searching the suspicious containers found 33 kilos of narcotics inside cylinders coated in yellow wax and 960 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride.

Thousands of pieces of fruit had to be opened during the search for detecting and removing the drugs. According to police, the gang had set up real estate and financial infrastructure with a large presence in several West African countries.

The operation resulted in the arrested of 11 people, and the seizure of a ton of cocaine, EUR€180,000 Euros (US$213,700 dollars) in cash, EUR€200,000 Euros worth of jewelry, 15 vehicles and two guns, as well as 57 buildings worth more than EUR€7 million, and more than EUR€2,000,000 in bank accounts.

Euroweeklynews.com reports the Spanish national police, with the help of Spanish tax officials, were able to verify the existence of the gang’s activities more than a year ago, and discovered the family were masking their illegal activities by hiding the narcotics in shipping containers to avoid detection by police and customs. According to a police spokesperson, the organization has been smuggling drugs into Spain since the 1970s, and started by sneaking hashish from Morocco then expanded into bringing cocaine from Latin America.

They also claimed the crime gang used highly sophisticated security measures to shield their movements, including the use of state-of-the-art electronic devices, coded messages and constantly changing vehicles to avoid detection.