`Olive Oil Used to Traffic Illegal Drugs - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oil Used to Traffic Illegal Drugs

Apr. 8, 2013
Naomi Tupper

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Australian police have brought down a net­work of drug traf­fick­ers linked to Spain and other parts of the EU, who were using olive oil to trans­port ille­gal drugs.

The inves­ti­ga­tion, which began 18 months ago, resulted in the seizure of 117 kilo­grams of MDMA, which is more com­monly known as ecstasy,” by Australian author­i­ties last month. With an esti­mated street value of 42 mil­lion euros, the raid led to the arrest of syn­di­cate sus­pects from Australia, the UK, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as the seizure of cash. The Australian con­tin­gent of the smug­gling ring could face life impris­on­ment and a fine of up to one mil­lion dol­lars

The base chem­i­cals used to make up the drugs are thought to have been hid­den in bot­tles of olive oil from Spain in such a quan­tity that 1.37 mil­lion ecstasy tablets could have been man­u­fac­tured from the haul. The suc­cess­ful oper­a­tion to bring down the inter­na­tional net­work of drug traf­fick­ers is seen as a mile­stone for Australian secu­rity forces and their inter­ac­tions with for­eign enti­ties.

While an unsuc­cess­ful attempt to import ille­gal drugs in this instance, it was not the first time olive oil and its ves­sels had been used as a dis­guise for drug smug­gling. In 2010, a Dutch traf­ficker was arrested after attempt­ing to drive over the Spanish bor­der to France with a load con­tain­ing 767 kg of hid­den Cannabis. The drugs were hid­den in large olive oil drums and appeared at first to be a load of local olive oil.

Reports dat­ing back to the 1930s indi­cate olive oil bar­rels have been a com­mon drug-smug­gling ves­sel, with large quan­ti­ties of heroin report­edly shipped into Europe in tins nailed or sol­dered to the inside of the bar­rels. This made it dif­fi­cult to detect the pres­ence of the drugs with­out open­ing the bar­rel.


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