The largest cocaine laboratory in Spain, has been busted; it existed surrounded by sheep and cattle at the end of a muddy road, some 40 miles from Madrid.
The humble looking villa was painted white, and the only suspicious item was an abandoned forklift in the driveway. Nobody would have thought inside the country home there was an avant-garde laboratory, complete with a 33-ton stockpile of chemicals needed to manufacture cocaine, automatic pistols, iPads, some 450 BlackBerry phones stacks of €500 and countless shrink-wrapped blocks of cocaine.
Twenty-five people were arrested, and assets valued at €50m ($67m) were seized and everyone associated with the villa is under investigation.
“I have worked in the drug squad for 20 years and have never seen anything like it or heard of anything comparable in the rest of Europe,” said Francisco Miguelañez, head of the counternarcotics unit.
“I couldn’t believe it when the police arrived. The guy there, who I knew as Nestor, seemed so normal. He would say hello and sometimes sat down for a beer if I offered him one; he said he worked over the internet.” Said a local resident and neighbor, genuinely surprised at the findings.
Police made public the laboratory’s discovery today, although an armed team had stormed the building as early as January 7th.
“When I woke up that day, there was a helicopter circling round and round, but the police wouldn’t tell us why they had arrested him,” Javier said. “I saw them taking away barrels of yellow liquid. They filled up four trucks.”
“They were really paranoid about security,” said Miguelañez, who added that the leaders of the network had heavily armed personal bodyguards with large machetes and Russian-made semi-automatic pistols that had not yet been seen among organized criminal organizations in Spain.
Five days after the bust, police in Spain seized 356 pounds of cocaine hidden inside plastic bananas that had been concealed in a 20-ton shipment of real fruit from Ecuador. Four people were arrested and police believe one of the four arrested is the leader of the ring who was responsible for maintaining contacts with the Colombian drug cartels that supplied the narcotics.
Last year dozens of packets of cocaine that were hidden in boxes of bananas found their way to supermarkets across Madrid.