Record Drug Busts and Illegal Raves: Welcome to Summer on Spain's Party Islands

As people party on despite club closures, police are battling to stem the tide of drugs heading to the Balearics.
The Amnesia nightclub has been shut due to COVID surges in Spain. Photo: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Police on the Spanish island of Mallorca have made their biggest ever drug bust, in the wake of a rise in illegal parties being held on the Balearics. 

During a house raid in Mallorca’s capital Palma on Wednesday cops found over 21,000 ecstasy pills, 3.5 kilos of speed, 3.5 kilos of ketamine shards, two kilos of “pink cocaine” suspected of being 2CB, more than a kilo of ketamine powder, along with hashish and five kilos of cutting agents. 


Police arrested two Spaniards in connection with the £722,000 [€850,000] haul, one of which they said is a well known DJ on Ibiza, one of the three main Balearic islands including Mallorca off Spain’s east coast. 

A Plague on Ibiza

The ecstasy pills seized are known locally as “Fanta Naranja” [Orange Fanta] and were being sold for €20 (about £17) each. Police had spotted them at illegal parties and being sold on social media across both islands. The raid came after a shoebox crammed with thousands of the pills was found by a member of the public in the industrial town of Manacor and investigators’ enquiries led them to the lucrative haul.

Police on the Spanish holiday islands, which are usually packed with tourists from Europe, have noticed a rise in illegal private parties on Ibiza and Mallorca since the big clubs, such as Amnesia and Pacha, were closed due to pandemic restrictions. There has also been a rise in outdoor street parties and villa parties, promoted on social media, with police in Ibiza reportedly recruiting foreign “detectives” to infiltrate these events as COVID cases surge.

VICE World News spoke to a Columbian drug smuggler based in Ibiza, via an encrypted Omerta SIM, about how COVID continues to change the local drug market. He said despite the club closures, demand for drugs on the islands has been healthy. 


“It was starting to feel like normal until the clubs closed again a couple of weeks ago. “For white [cocaine], it’s business as usual. It’s always business as usual with white, so we’re shifting a box [kilo] for around £29,000 to £32,000 [€34,000 to €38,000] depending on the level of effort involved. A lot of cocaine is consumed in villas and higher-end venues, so these people of course are less impacted by the COVID restrictions.”

He said that because of the disrupted holiday season, there has been less cash than usual across the islands for importing club drugs such as MDMA and ketamine. 

“Lockdown fucked-up last summer for the club and bar workers – the bigger places were open for maybe a month at best, so there’s less cash lying around for the upfront investment needed to bring goods [drugs] onto the island. This meant that at the start of the summer, we often saw men doing smaller ket and mandy importations – of a couple kilos or just a thousand pills – to build-up cash flow again.”

Spain’s drug trade has shown no signs of calming down over lockdown. In January, Spanish police made the largest synthetic drug seizure in their history when they discovered 827,000 ecstasy pills, 76 kilos of speed, 39.5 kilograms of ketamine shards, 217 litres of liquid amphetamine, 310 kilograms of hashish, 89 kilograms of marijuana, 2,000 doses of LSD and 1.65 kilograms of pink cocaine, with much of it reportedly heading for Ibiza and Mallorca.

In May Mallorcan cops busted three criminal gangs, with 14 arrests, for importing at ten kilos of high-purity cocaine and five kilos of hashish. And last September, an organised crime group allegedly responsible for supplying cocaine, speed and ecstasy to the majority of drug dealers in Mallorca was dismantled in a series of high-profile dawn raids with 16 arrests.

Last summer a DJ on the Ibiza club scene, Hugo Bianco, was arrested after he was suspected of being a major player of an international drugs ring supplying two million ecstasy pills and vast quantities of ketamine to partygoers at clubs in San Antonio, Playa d'en Bossa and Ibiza Town across a three-year period.