A FAMILY-RUN organisation on the Costa del Sol which allegedly smuggled tons of cocaine into Spain using pineapples has been busted by police.
The gang reportedly ran one of the largest drug trafficking operations in Europe and had been in business for more than 40 years.
Police made 11 arrests during the investigation in total and seize a ton of cocaine.
Officers also intercepted €180,000 in cash, €200,000 worth of jewellery, two pistols and 15 vehicles.
They have also frozen more than €2 million across several bank accounts and repossessed 57 buildings worth €7 million.
The 72-year-old head of the crime ring, along with four of his sons and two sons-in-law, is believed to have used the guise of his shipping company to hide his illicit activities by shipping the drugs in pineapples transported in cargo ships.
In one of the ships intercepted from Costa Rica, officers discovered 33 kilos of cocaine concealed in small cylinder containers that had been covered with yellow wax and hidden inside the pineapples. Police had to smash open thousands of pieces of fruit to locate all of the drugs.
They also found more than 960 kilos of cocaine hidden in a shipment of pineapples bound for Algeciras from Ecuador.
National police, with the help of Spanish tax officials, were able to verify the existence of the gang’s activities more than a year ago, and discovered the family were masking their illegal activities by hiding the narcotics in shipping containers to avoid detection by police and customs.
According to a police spokesperson, the organisation has been smuggling drugs into Spain since the 1970s, and started by sneaking hashish from Morocco then expanded into bringing cocaine from Latin America.
They also claimed the crime gang used highly sophisticated security measures to shield their movements, including the use of state-of-the-art electronic devices, coded messages and constantly changing vehicles to avoid detection.