Police have seized what is believed to be Europe’s biggest ever drug drone, which was being used by a French smuggling gang to traffick drugs from Morocco to southern Spain.
The drone, with a flight range of seven hours and a maximum speed of over 100mph, has a wingspan of nearly five metres. Worth up to £128,000, it is capable of carrying up to 150kg of cargo in a special compartment in its nose.
“We’ve never seen a drone this big used for this purpose. There were some precedents, but not like this. This is the biggest one ever found in Spain,” Pedro Luis Bardón, from the National Police’s airborne resources unit, told Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Made in China, the five-motor drone was discovered in a warehouse inland from the city of Málaga in southern Spain during a joint investigation by Spanish and French police. Cops also found 85 kilos of weed and hashish, while four people – three in France and one in Spain – were arrested in the operation.
The stretch of sea between Morocco and southern Spain is one of Europe’s busiest drug trafficking zones, with huge amounts of Moroccan weed and South American cocaine smuggled up from Africa into Europe. In March police discovered a 30ft long fiberglass narco-submarine, capable of carrying two tons of illegal drugs, being built in Malaga.
The capture of such a sophisticated drone follows the discovery of a network of smugglers using a fleet of small drones to fly drugs from Morocco into Cueta, a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa.
Police found seven drones, each with load capacities of between four and 25kg, alongside a stash of drugs and weapons including an HK assault rifle. The drones had been used to traffick illicit benzodiazepine tablets to Morocco from Cueta and to bring back Moroccan-grown hashish on the return journey.