THE Minister of the Interior Juan Ignacio Zoido has announced that the appropriately named Nativity operation has seized 6 tonnes of cocaine worth €210 million in Algeciras.
This is said to be the largest seizure of cocaine in Spain so far this century and one of the largest in the whole of Europe which has resulted in the arrest of three people, a Spaniard, a Honduran and a Portuguese citizen.
Information had been received from the Risk Analysis Unit at the Port of Algeciras which considered that the arrival of a ship, the Banak, said to be containing a large shipment of Colombian bananas was suspicious and officers decided to search the vessel.
In the third container searched out of a consignment of six, officers found the drugs concealed amongst boxes of bananas, hidden in such a way that a large number of boxes of the fruit had to be removed before the cocaine was revealed.
The bananas were consigned to a fruit importer based in Barcelona and when tested the drugs which were pressed in a rectangular brick-like shape with several different identification marks then wrapped in adhesive tape were found to be almost pure.
All of those arrested were involved with the company importing the bananas and officers of the Guardia Civil are also investigating at least two other people who may have been involved in arranging the shipment.