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    1.3 tons of cocaine found hidden in frozen fish: "Operation Squid"

    By Emily Mae Czachor,


    Meth, cocaine found hidden in jalapeño paste shipment 00:22

    Authorities in Portugal found and seized more than 1.3 tons of cocaine hidden inside a shipment of frozen fish that was transported from Ecuador and set for distribution across Europe, the national police force announced on Monday. The smuggled cargo, which weighed about as much as a compact SUV, was discovered as part of a broader campaign to combat drug trafficking.

    The campaign, called Operation "Squid," is headed by a specialized unit at the Portuguese Judiciary Police. Their recent discovery led to the arrests of seven men from various countries, who are allegedly involved in an international drug trafficking network that authorities say is responsible for importing and distributing the cocaine. Police did not identify those arrested by name but said the men are between 26 and 59 years old.

    Authorities intercepted the shipment of frozen fish at a warehouse after it was unloaded at the Port of Lisbon.

    "The way the drug was hidden in the frozen fish made it extremely difficult to detect and, in order to remove it, it was even necessary to completely destroy the fish," police said in their announcement, which included video of officers opening boxes of the alleged drugs.

    Additional searches conducted as part of the "Squid" operation led to the seizures of eight firearms, luxury vehicles, documents and other pieces of potential evidence that authorities will use as they continue their investigation into the trafficking incident.

    The recent discovery in Portugal came just days after another massive cocaine shipment was found hidden in bananas by police in the United Kingdom. The 12,500-pound haul of drugs had an estimated street value of about $568 million and broke the country's record for the biggest single seizure of hard drugs.

    Last December, another huge cocaine shipment was found in frozen tuna by Spanish police, who said at the time that the fish had been imported from South America and was set for wider distribution across Europe, Reuters reported . That drug shipment, whic weighed 7.5 tons, was the largest drug bust in the history of Galicia, the coastal Spanish region where it was found.

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