Lisbon, Portugal — Police in Portugal have arrested gang members transporting hundreds of kilos of cocaine packaged inside fresh pineapples.
Nine members of a gang that were transporting cocaine from Portugal to Spain were arrested after authorities found the pineapples were filled with yellow wax cylinders filled with cocaine. The cylinders were placed inside fresh pineapple skins and transported across South American borders.
The arrest came after an operation between the two countries. The seizure, from shipping containers, was part of an ongoing investigation across both countries that started April 2017.
The Spanish Interior Ministry said that the cocaine was packed in cylinders, covered in yellow wax to appear as if made of the fruit, then covered by previously emptied out pineapple skins.
Aside from the cocaine, police also dismantled a laboratory where the drug was cut with additives. In total, police confiscated 745 kilos of cocaine, a laboratory, two hydraulic presses, three packing machines and more than €400,000 in cash in the raids.
The gang members, led by two Colombian brothers, had laboratories in the municipalities of Pinto and Nuevo Baztan near the Spanish capital Madrid.
Police say the gang stored their cocaine in Terrasa, Barcelona, before transporting it to their Madrid laboratories every 15-20 days.
“This organized international group had repeatedly brought large quantities of cocaine to the European continent,” Portuguese investigators said in a statement.
Police believe that the disguised cocaine shipment travelled from Panama to the port of Lisbon by sea.
The Iberian Peninsula is a major entry point for cocaine and other drugs to Europe, either directly from Latin America or via North and West Africa.