[h1]Drugs seized in Spain replaced with talcum powder [/h1]
Fri Jul 18, 9:14 AM ET
MADRID (AFP) - Police in the southern Spanish city of Seville have been left red-faced after more than 100 kilos of drugs were stolen from police headquarters and replaced with talcum powder, a spokesman said Friday.
The missing drugs, amounting to 95 percent of the cocaine seized in police operations, would be worth about five million euros (7.9 million dollars) on the black market, the secretary general of the police union, Manuel Espino, told AFP.
All the signs are that the thief or thieves who took the drugs were regular visitors, and might even be police officers themselves.
There was no sign of the door having been forced so the thief entered "with one of the existing keys or a copy of the key," Espino said.
According to the newspaper El Pais, the keys were usually kept by the head of Seville's organised crime unit, although he sometimes handed them over to other officers.
Contacted by AFP, Seville police would only confirm that narcotics stored at the police station had "gone missing" and that the internal affairs department had begun an inquiry.
The theft was discovered when police were preparing to destroy the stored drugs.
"We always carry out a final analysis of seized substances before they are destroyed," said Espino. "This revealed that the substance was not drugs but a harmless material resembling the drug, like talcum powder."