Spanish police, with the collaboration of Belgian and Dutch authorities, broke up a gang that used children and babies to smuggle cocaine into Europe by plane from South America, hiding the drug in the youngsters’ diapers.
Authorities arrested 20 people - 16 in Spain, two in Belgium and two in the Netherlands - who flew from South America with shipments of between one and five kilos of cocaine, police here said Monday.
Police seized 11 kilos of drugs during the course of the operation.
The initial investigation focused on several people living in the Spanish city of Zaragoza who were suspected of smuggling cocaine.
Police were able to determine that the network had scheduled a shipment of cocaine from South America to Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport.
The information was transmitted to Dutch authorities, who arrested a Spanish couple who traveled with a baby and were transporting about 1.6 kilos of cocaine taped to their bodies and hidden in the child’s diapers.
In late September, three of the people being investigated in Zaragoza traveled to Madrid to take delivery of a kilo of cocaine.
Over the next few weeks, authorities intercepted new drug shipments and made other arrests, many of them at Barajas International Airport in Madrid.
In the final phase of the investigation, police arrested the two ringleaders of the organization in Spain when they were making a drug transaction.