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Page last updated at 16:41 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 17:41 UK

Spain drugs raid nets fake police

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Spanish authorities have arrested five men who they say impersonated police officers to steal drugs from cocaine smugglers during simulated raids.

The men, who allegedly used police badges and uniforms, were held as they were about to seize 265kg (585lb) of cocaine from a group of traffickers.

Four Colombian dealers were also detained in the Madrid warehouse raid.

The impostors allegedly used a hi-tech surveillance van and night-vision goggles to monitor their targets.

Entry point

Spain's National Police said the group, which was led by an Italian man living in Spain, included Spanish, Bulgarian and Colombian nationals.

Having identified real traffickers, the group would monitor them closely to locate their drugs hide-out before staging a fake police raid to seize the goods, a police statement said, as reported by AFP news agency.

"At the moment of acting they would use chest protection and shields with the inscription 'police', as well as shackles and other police equipment to pass as agents," it added.

The raid came after a three-month investigation and also netted 14,000 euros ($18,350) in cash, weapons and silencers, four cars and a motorcycle, AFP reported.

Spain is the main entry point into Europe for cocaine smuggled from South America.

More cocaine is consumed in Spain than in any other European country, according to a report published last year by the European Union's drug agency, the EMCDDA.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Spain
08 Jul 08 |  Country profiles

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