Cocaine Hidden in Truck from Dakar Rally Seized in Spain; Shipment Originated from Argentina

Dakar Village in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 2009.
Dakar Village in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 2009.
Dakar Village in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 2009.
Dakar Village in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 2009.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Spanish police seized 1,760 pounds of cocaine hidden in a truck used as a backup vehicle in the Dakar Rally, an off-road car race, held this year in Argentina.

The truck was first shipped from Spain to Argentina, where the race is now held because of security concerns over terrorist attacks in Africa. It was then allegedly loaded with cocaine during one of the race’s stages held from January 1 to 16 and shipped back to Spain after the race.

The truck was seized last Friday in Bilbao, Spain as part of a joint effort between Spanish and Argentine authorities.

“The vehicle had been totally transformed to adapt it to its supposed participation in the competition as a support truck, with publicity and logos of the event painted on its side,” a police statement released on Tuesday said, according to The BBC.

Seven suspects were arrested, all Spaniards who were allegedly part of a drug smuggling ring that aimed to transport the cocaine to the Balearic island of Ibiza for its summer party season.

Authorities in Barcelona also found 6,000 euros and false documents in the apartment of the ring’s alleged leader.

Other top news: A new report by the Mexican government shows that more than 22,700 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderón began a U.S.-supported crackdown against Mexico’s drug cartels in December of 2006.

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • In an agreement announced at the Nuclear Security Summit, Mexico said it would work with the United States and Canada to convert its highly enriched uranium reactor.
  • Tourism is down in Mexico due to the rise in violence between drug cartels and fears over last year’s swine flu breakout.

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Image: InnerCore @ Flickr.

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