Police have caught a gang in Spain that was smuggling 752kg of methamphetamine by hiding it in specially drilled cavities into huge marble blocks. Five suspects held after the drug was found in 25-tonne marble blocked which were imported from Mexico.
It is the largest ever seizure of methamphetamine drug in Spain. The investigation began last August after the police and Inland Revenue officers noticed the company which was importing 25-tonne blocks of marble from Mexico to the port of Valencia in Spain in spite of lacking the necessary infrastructure and resources.
A joint operation between the national police, Guardia Civil and custom officers was begun to look into the shell company and soon started probing a shipment of large marble blocks that reached in Valencia in the mid-October.
Methamphetamine is a potent, highly addictive drug that mainly affects the central nervous system. Other common names are ice, crystal meth, blue and speed. It is the form of an addictive drug that looks like shiny glass fragments or bluish-white rocks. People can take it by swallowing, snorting, smoking and injecting the powder dissolved in alcohol or water.
Crystal meth increases the amount of the body’s natural chemical, dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in movement, motivation and reinforcing the rewarding behaviours. Meth’s ability to increase the release of dopamine in the reward areas of the human brain reinforces the drug-taking behaviour, making the person addicted to it.
Currently, most crystal methamphetamine in the United States is manufactured by transaction criminal organizations in Mexico. Methamphetamine has turned up in more number of deaths than the use of opioid painkillers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 10,333 meth overdose deaths in 2017. That’s more than 14 percent of all overdose deaths.
Officers noticed the special markings on the base of one of these six marble blocks and monitored the stone as it was transported to the quarry in the village of La Romana in province Alicante, southern Spain.
Subsequent raids and continual watching led to the rest of five people who were involved in the drug smuggling, the seizure 352kg of methamphetamine and the discovery of the modus operandi of smugglers.
The Guardia Civil said that in order to avoid detection, the criminals had drilled cylindrical cavities into the marble blocks, in which 43 plastic-wrapped packets containing methamphetamine were hidden. The plastic packages containing drugs were placed inside the cavities that were sealed with resins, topped with a cover of marble and then finished off with a tough mortar. The whole task was performed in Mexico.
The resultant surface looked like marble; the altered side of the 25-tonne marble block which was placed face down to escape from the suspicious eyes.
Shortly after that, the customs officers caught another shipment of marble and found one more drilled out marble block which was containing 400kg of crystal meth.
The investigating team consisting of police and customs officers successfully recovered €150,000 (£129,000) in cash, five guns, 14 vehicles seized the assets which include 19 properties and frozen seven bank accounts. Twenty-six uncontaminated marble blocks were also seized.