MALAGA, Spain – Spanish police said on Thursday they had made 11 arrests and confiscated a ton of cocaine from Costa Rica that was found hidden inside pineapples.
A police 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.
A 72-year-old man, who was apparently the leader of the group, was detained along with six other relatives.
The man allegedly used one of his businesses to transport cocaine from Latin America – on this occasion from Costa Rica – inside shipments of pineapples.
Upon searching several suspicious containers, investigators found 33 kilograms (73 pounds) of narcotics inside cylinders coated in yellow wax and 960 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride.
The circumstances complicated the process of detecting and removing the drugs, and thousands of pieces of fruit had to be opened during the search.
According to police, the gang had set up real estate and financial infrastructure with a large presence in several West African countries.
As a result of the operation, police arrested 11 people and seized a ton of cocaine, 180,000 euros ($213,700) in cash, 200,000 euros worth of jewelry, 15 vehicles and two guns, as well as 57 buildings worth more than 7 million euros, and more than 2 million euros in bank accounts.