Spain Finds Cocaine Hidden in Plastic Bananas

Police in Spain seized 162 kilos (356 pounds) of cocaine hidden inside plastic bananas that had been concealed in a 20-tonne shipment of real fruit from Ecuador, the interior ministry said Thursday.

"The imitations with the drugs, which were very similar to real bananas, were hidden amongst a shipment of real fruit," it said in a statement.

The cocaine was wrapped in clear plastic sheets inside the fake green bananas, pictures released by police showed.

Four people were arrested in the operation surrounding the shipment which arrived at the Mediterranean port of Algeciras from Guayaquil, the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador.

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.

"These contacts led him to travel to the interior of the Colombian jungle to personally supervise the shipment of the cocaine and inspect its quality," the statement said.

Three arrests were made in Madrid and the fourth was carried out in Benalmadena on Spain's southern coast.

The operation was linked to the arrests at the start of 2010 of cocaine traffickers based in Benalmadena, Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Marbella on the Costa del Sol.

Spain's proximity to Morocco, a key source of hashish, and its close ties with its former colonies in Latin America, a major cocaine-producing region, have made it a major gateway into Europe for drug


Last year dozens of packets of cocaine that were hidden in boxes of bananas found their way to supermarkets across Madrid.

Police were alerted after a shelf-stacker at a supermarket in the Spanish capital found a brick of neatly wrapped cocaine under a bunch of the fruit.

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