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Largest Drug Lab in Europe Shut Down

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The National Police has dismantled what they believe was one of the largest cocaine processing laboratories in Europe, located in an isolated villa in El Puig, north of Valencia.

Officers arrested eleven people believed to be involved in the lb, in raids across six provinces -Madrid, Malaga, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid and Pontevedra, which resulted in 8,500 litres of chemicals being recovered from the ten properties raided.

The group was formed of Spanish, Colombian and Albanian citizens, dedicated to the introduction of large items of narcotic substance in Spain, camouflaged in different legal products, to later establish clandestine laboratories with the purpose of extracting coca paste from said products and with it elaborate cocaine hydrochloride.

The gang´s ultimate objective was to carry out drug procurement and distribution, for which it had a large business structure that was responsible for importing maritime containers contaminated with palm kernel cake, a product with which they masked the drug in order to easily overcome the customs and sanitary controls.

The production would result in sacks of about a thousand kilograms each being introduced to the country, with the purpose of extracting the base paste from palm kernel flour (the residue that remains after oil extraction from the palm seed that is grown in tropical areas) and, once separated, proceed to transform it into cocaine hydrochloride. For this they had “chemists or chefs”, expressly brought from Latin America to instruct the organisation and show them the elaboration or “cooking” process of the narcotic drug.

As a result of the police investigations, officers became aware of the presence of a couple of Colombian citizens who had been known to travel between South America and Spain on a number of occasions, the intention being to check the business structure in Spain, as well as to negotiate percentages and benefits for distribution once the drug was extracted.

Subsequently, the investigators became aware of the pending arrival of ten containers at the Port of Marín (Pontevedra) with legal merchandise and, among them, one in which cocaine was transported.

The laboratory in the Valencia town was hidden away down quiet country lanes, far from normal civilisation, and thus an ideal location to carry out the production process. The property has 24 hour security provided by a Moroccan national, who remained on the property and dealt with the deliveries.

During the conclusion of the investigation officers intervened 8,500 litres of chemical compounds, six vehicles, a 6 mm revolver with a box of 47 cartridges, various computer telephone and electronic items, and cash. Twelve containers are currently blocked in the port of Marín pending the corresponding qualitative and quantitative analysis and to be able to determine exactly the sacks contaminated with cocaine, in which the organisation masked the illicit substance.

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