Mexican and Colombian cartels’ European stronghold: Pontevedra’s massive drug lab

Joint effort by Spanish, Portuguese, and Colombian authorities dismantles record-breaking drug lab with a 200-kilo daily capacity in Galicia, arresting 18 suspects.

Mexican cartels are among the most powerful in the world. They have shared a history with the Colombians, who set precedents and have made alliances to strengthen the criminal business, taking drug trafficking and the installation of narco-laboratories to the other side of the world. One of them was discovered in Spain and is, so far, the largest narco-laboratory in Europe.

The Spanish National Police dismantled it in a joint operation with the Portuguese Judicial Police and the Colombian Anti-Narcotics Directorate. The Spanish agency announced the incident in a press release.

The laboratory was located in the province of Pontevedra, Galicia, and operated at full capacity 24 hours a day, producing up to 200 kilos of drugs per day.

Said laboratory, the largest cocaine producer in Europe, was owned by cartels from Mexico and Colombia, specialists in processing the potent drug.

Inside the place were a stone-chopping machine used to extract the base paste from the inside of large cylinders and a hidden cabin where they kept the drug once it was extracted.

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This blow to drug trafficking also left several arrests, which were made in different parts of Spain. 11 people were captured in Galicia, four in Madrid, two in the Canary Islands, and one in the Basque Country. The 18 suspects are already in prison.

Of the 18 people arrested, six were Colombians – who played the role of “cooks” – and two were Mexicans. They provided the technical know-how for the correct extraction of the cocaine base.

According to the Spanish police, the dismantled criminal organization had a high level of sophistication, and its members, who had a clear distribution of roles, employed strong security measures such as the use of nicknames, the use of shuttle vehicles, the use of disguised transporters or the subjection of their communications to a strict security protocol.

Finally, it was reported that they marked the drug packages with the Superman logo to identify the products manufactured in the mega drug lab.