Almería now has the distinction of being the home to the first cocaine lab ever found in Spain.
A massive police raid took place in San Isidrio (Níjar – between the greenhouses) last July, but the operation has only now been confirmed by the Guardia Civil. The operation happened after a tipoff by the US Homeland Security Investigation team found a bunch of Colombians smuggling vast amounts of cocaine into Spain. The Colombian authorities were also involved in the operation.
Cocaine is normally refined back in Colombia and the white powder then smuggled into Europe. However, in this case, the plants were mixed with palm flour and imported legally into Spain as animal feed. The stuff then had to be refined out of the palm flour before being “cooked” and the cocaine extracted from the plant, in the same way as the Colombians usually do back in the forest.
12 people were arrested in the raid on the warehouse in the industrial estate, including the “cooks” and a ringleader. A large amount of cash, firearms, and 229 kg of pure cocaine were seized.