Spanish authorities have arrested two Britons suspected of smuggling a new type of synthetic drug – said to be “80 times stronger” than regular cannabis – into the country.
The two British men, aged 36 and 37, have been arrested in connection with the new synthetic drug that was smuggled inside coffee sacks into Alicante and nearby resort towns, the Spanish publication La Informacion reported.
The drug came to Spain through the airport in Alicante camouflaged as coffee packets from Hong Kong. The special operation was launched in mid-March when a suspicious substance was detected by agents of the Civil Guard under the Analysis and Tax Investigation unit at the Alicante-Elche Airport.
The coffee sacks were hidden among other bags containing sweets and were addressed to a bar popular among Britons in the town of El Campello, not far from Alicante.
Spanish authorities put the pub under surveillance which resulted in the arrest of a 36-year-old suspect, who was collecting mail for the group that imported the drug, according to sources. The second suspect was arrested two days later at the Alicante-Elche Airport when he was trying to leave Spain.
A total of 12,200 grams of this substance was seized during the investigation which could be worth up to €3,5 million euros (over $3,7 million).
The drug is new on the market and its effects on humans are not known yet. However, the Spanish Civil Guard said one gram of the drug is “80 times” more powerful than a gram of cannabis.
The substance has a lumpy texture that dissolves in water and is then spread on a cigarette or a cigar and is apparently then consumed while smoking.
Early April, Spanish police seized 500kg (1,102lb) of cocaine hidden in fire-resistant bricks which came as a result of a two-year investigation into a drug smuggling ring run by a person known as “The Grandmother.” The street value of the confiscated cocaine was put at €18 million (US$19.2 million), according to a government spokesperson in Madrid, as cited by El País.
Earlier, in March, cocaine was found in 57 pieces of artificial bananas mixed with 10 kilos of real bananas packed in cardboard boxes in Valencia.