20 Filipinos arrested in Spain for drug trafficking

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 19 2014 03:51 AM | Updated as of Mar 19 2014 11:51 AM

MADRID - Spanish police said on Tuesday that they had broken up two drug trafficking rings specializing in crystal meth, arresting 42 people, almost half of them Filipinos.

Police seized eight kilos (17.6 pounds) of the highly addictive drug and 15,000 ($21,000) in cash in raids across Madrid, Barcelona and Murcia, the police said in a statement.

Crystal meth -- also known as "ice" or "shabu" -- is fairly common in North America and Asia, but has only started to appear in Spain over the last year, they added.

Police arrested 20 Filipinos, 19 Spaniards and three Africans - one each from Mali, Senegal and Togo.

One of the two gangs used a car import-export business as a front company.

"Thanks to this front company the detainees avoided raising suspicions with their frequent trips between Spain, Italy and Africa and above all they tried to give the appearance that their activities and the money raised were legal," the police statement said.

Police made the first arrests in December -- focusing on those who distributed the drug around Spain. The arrests "in recent days" have targeted those suspected of smuggling it into the country.