Spanish police bust gang using underwater drug drones

MADRID, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Police in Spain have broken up a gang that was allegedly smuggling drugs using semi-submersible drones each capable of carrying up to 200 kilograms of narcotics from north Africa to Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar, said the police on Monday.

In a joint operation with the French police, the Spanish authorities arrested eight members of the gang in the cities of Cadiz and Malaga (south of Spain), and also in Barcelona.

Police also raided several warehouses in Castellar de la Frontera near Cadiz, seizing 145 kilos of hashish, over 150,000 euros (156,000 U.S. dollars) in cash, 10 vehicles and six aerial drones each with a range of 30 kilometers.

The three semi-submersible drones recovered by the police were the first unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs)seized in an anti-drug operation.

According to the police, the three UUVs were "due to be delivered to French narcotraffickers to be used to transport significant quantities of cocaine."

The gang is understood to have worked with criminal organizations in Italy and Denmark.

"They were making large, unmanned drones with huge load capacities that meant they could carry a cargo of between 150 kilos and 200 kilos," the police said in a statement.

"Among other uses, this equipment would have allowed drug traffickers to transport large quantities of drugs across the Strait of Gibraltar by remote control." The gang has been under investigation since April 2021.

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