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Spain smashes gang making drug transport boats

MADRID (AFP) – Spanish police said yesterday they had broken up a gang suspected of making high-speed boats to transport “large quantities” of drugs by sea.

Officers arrested 22 people and seized 20 boats in raids carried out across Spain, including Madrid and Barcelona, as well as northern Portugal, the police said in a statement.

Police suspect the gang was dedicated to “the manufacture and development of high-speed boats, which were then used to ship large quantities of narcotics by sea”, the statement said.

Among the members of the group were people who were “highly qualified” in the manufacture of boats specially designed for smuggling drugs, police said.

Pictures released showed several upturned boat hulls inside a large hangar as well as hatches designed to hide narcotics inside the structure of the vessels.

Once the boats were finished, they were shipped to various places in the Iberian peninsula before being used to transport drugs to southern Spain.

Spain’s physical proximity to Morocco, a major hashish producer, and its close ties with its former colonies in Latin America, a major cocaine-producing region, have made it a key entry point for drugs bound for Europe.

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