Spanish national police and the Guardia Civil seized more than 22 tonnes of cannabis in fake tomatoes from Morocco intended to be transported by road to France, local media reported.
Guardia Civil and National Police officers arrested ten people suspected of drug trafficking between Spain and France in an operation called “Califa Trucks”, which resulted in the seizure of 22,370 kilograms of cannabis resin, a large number of high-tech mobile phones and seven vehicles belonging to the criminal organisation,” the Spanish Guardia Civil said in a statement.
“The operation began after identifying a criminal organisation, based in Córdoba and operating in different provinces, which would have been involved in drug trafficking, mainly between Spain and France,” the same source said.
Collaboration between the two forces in Málaga, Córdoba and Cádiz led to the identification of the members of the group, which was led by a Moroccan based in Córdoba who had collaborators at different levels in charge of logistics, security and drug storage.
The organisation had a complicated structure, “rich in human, technical and material resources and with a strong economic capacity”.
The agents made a first seizure of 2,600 kilos of cannabis stored in several boxes of fake tomatoes in a van in Málaga, which led them to the industrial area of Mollina where the criminal network hid another 19,700 kilos of cannabis resin. The drugs were hidden in 18 pallets loaded with canabis balls looking like tomatoes.
The 22,370 kilos of drugs seized are estimated by detectives to be worth 45 million euros, according to the Malaga newspaper La Opinion.
Drug trafficking from Morocco continues to make headlines in Spain and seizures of large quantities of cannabis are often reported.
The latest was at the end of December 2022 when Spanish police announced that they had seized 4.4 tonnes of cannabis, allegedly headed for South America, from a boat off the southern coast of the country.
In early December, a criminal organisation involved in international drug trafficking between Morocco and Spain, as well as other European countries, was dismantled in Spain, resulting in the seizure of over 9,600 kg of cannabis and 1,450 kg of marijuana.
During the same period, the Spanish authorities announced that they had dismantled a major drug trafficking organisation and arrested thirty people, including Moroccans, accused of hiding cannabis in a fake humanitarian convoy to Ukraine in order to send it to several European countries in an operation that resulted in the seizure of almost 800,000 euros, as well as six weapons and 2,500 cannabis plants.
Last March, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) reported that Morocco, the world’s largest producer of cannabis resin, remained the main source country for cannabis resin entering the European Union (EU).
In June, the World Drug Report 2022 published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicated that Morocco was still the leading source and export country for cannabis resin, making it the world’s largest producer and exporter of this drug.