Spanish police said over the weekend that they had completed the largest international seizure of cannabis.
The Guardia Civil announced on Saturday that it had dismantled an organization with more than 32 tons of bud stored throughout the country in Toledo, Ciudad Real, Valencia, and Asturias.
The raid was known as the “Jardines operation.”
“The Civil Guard has seized the largest cache of packaged marijuana found so far. The Jardines operation has concluded with the seizure of 32,370.2 kilograms of marijuana buds, the largest seizure of this substance, not only in Spain, but also internationally. Its equivalence in complete plants would be approximately 1,100,000 copies,” the police said.
Or, as the BBC put it, the “weight of the seized plants is roughly equivalent to more than five adult African elephants.”
The police said that through “a complex business network, [the suspects] sent vacuum-packed marijuana throughout the national territory, as well as to Switzerland, Holland, Germany, and Belgium, among other European countries.”
“The twenty detainees – nine men and eleven women between the ages of 20 and 59 – were part of an organization with offices in Toledo, Ciudad Real, Valencia and Asturias, which controlled the entire drug production and distribution process,” the police said in the announcement on Saturday. “The investigation began with an inspection by the Civil Guard of several industrial hemp plantations in Villacañas (Toledo). The main investigated owned a company with which they acquired the seeds. A second transported and planted them. Another company was in charge of the care, maintenance, collection and drying of the specimens.”
“Finally, the initial company was in charge of acquiring the already dried plants with the buds and stored them in two warehouses located in the province of Valencia,” they continued “From there, the detainees processed the genre, separating the buds and vacuum packaging them in different formats to send them both to places in Spanish territory and to European countries, mainly Switzerland, Holland, Germany and Belgium.”
According to police, the subsequent raid took place last month in Ciudad Real, with agents from Toledo ultimately discovering “some 37,000 plants distributed in four greenhouses and in the process of drying.”
“The three people who were at the time of the performance were arrested. In the ship, the Civil Guard also finds four tons of marijuana stings stored in several bags. The destination of all the merchandise was the two warehouses in Valencia,” they explained. “In this last province, the Civil Guard has intervened 30,530 kilos of buds, 20 kilos of pollen -all vacuum packed-, 21,600 plants in the process of drying and 231,200 packs of marijuana buds. Documentation has also been found that accredited the existence of several more plantations, machinery for processing, elaboration and packaging, highlighting above all two machines for the extraction of pollen. In this record 15 people have been arrested.”
“Finally, the third and last phase of the exploitation, has consisted of a new inspection in Asturias. The analysis of the plants that were there has also tested positive for psychoactive. 4,000 plants have been seized and two have been arrested,” the police added.
In June, lawmakers in Spain approved a measure clearing the way for medical cannabis to be available by the end of this year.
Patients with conditions such as cancer, pain, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and epilepsy, among others, will be able to receive a prescription, with experts estimating that hundreds of thousands of individuals in Spain could potentially take advantage of the treatment.