STAFF REPORTER
PALMA

A carefully planned swoop by the combined forces of French and Spanish drug squads has resulted in the break-up of a narcotics trafficking gang and the arrest of 11 of its members.

A number of the gang who had previous criminal records registered in France, were tracked down to Alicante. The remaining members operated out of French towns including Marseilles, Toulon and Paris.

In the same operation which had been meticulously planned over 11 months, police seized 189 kilos of cocaine in Barcelona concealed in a vehicle which apparently came from the Balearics. Police sources confirmed yesterday that the narcotics gang had direct links with mafia organisations in Marseilles and that the cocaine seized in the raid had been destined for sale in Spain.

Barcelona had apparently been chosen by the gang as the port through which to sell their wares, hiding the cocaine in a vehicle. Officers managed to intercept it and discovered the drugs stashed in sealed bags hidden in gaps behind the front and back bumpers. Part of the chasis of the vehicle had to be dismantled in order for police to get at the haul in its entirety. The gang had reportedly managed to acquire a “duplicate” of the vehicle used for transporting the cocaine - the same type, model, colour and year of manufacture, to avoid suspicion at police controls.

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