Heroin seizure breaks Spanish records
From correspondents in Madrid
August 01, 2008 09:30pm
SPANISH police have made their biggest heroin seizure when drugs with a street value of more than 54 million euros ($89.6 million) were found in the Mediterranean port of Sitges.
The 316.5kg of heroin were taken from a US-flagged ship and loaded on a van with a Dutch licence plate, police said in a statement. Five men, four of Turkish origin and a Romanian were detained.
The drugs were in 633 packages.
It is one of the biggest heroin busts in Europe and it is the first time that smugglers have been caught by Spanish police trying to bring the drug into the country by ship, the police statement said.
"We have managed to discover and dismantle a method of introducing heroin, by sea, which was unknown to date, even at the European level, which is especially dangerous," the statement said.
Police said they began their investigation in February by monitoring a Dutch national of Turkish origin who was arrested in 1994 for being the leader of a group that smuggled 118kg of heroin into Spain.
He was one of the five men detained on Thursday.
Spain, with its extensive southern coastline, is Europe's main point of entry for Moroccan cannabis and for cocaine from South America, mostly from Colombia, the world's top producer of the drug.