France and Spain arrest traffickers using helicopters to transport drugs

Spain and France arrested traffickers who used helicopters to transport drugs from Morocco.

Seized helicopter used to smuggling drugs from Morocco to Spain
One of the helicopters used to smuggling drugs from Morocco to Spain seized by the Spanish Civil Guard | © Spanish Civil Guard

The Spanish Civil Guard and the French anti-drug agency, supported by Europol, arrested members of a peculiar network involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.

The 11 people arrested, ten in Spain and one in France, smuggled hashish and marijuana from Morocco to Andalusia before going to France, the Spanish Civil Guard explains on January 9.

But they didn’t transport the drugs by boat or plane from Morocco to Spain. Instead, they used helicopters modified to transport cannabis.

Once in Spain, they would smuggle drugs to France by “go fast”, or in legal cargos transported by heavy trucks.

The investigation, called COPA-SUCRE, started in 2020 when French authorities notified Spain that they detected a network operating on their territory, too.

During the investigation, they identified a helicopter without a flight plan landing off the Andalusian coast from Morocco illegally. A man unloaded and carried out bales containing hashish.

Helicopter drug smuggler in Spain
During the investigation, authorities filmed a man carrying out bales of hashish from a helicopter that landed off the coast of Andalusia | © Spanish Civil Guard

Authorities seized 4 helicopters in total, along with 4 trucks, cars, firearms, ammunition, 2,400 kilograms of hashish and 112kg of marijuana in the south of Spain and France.

The network is also involved in money laundering through shell companies. Nine other people are also pending arrests in France with European arrest warrants.

Read more about France

11 arrested in France and Spain for flying cannabis into Europe, Europol; YouTube, January 2022, Free access

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