The Spanish Civil Guard said the investigation began last year when agents learned about the importation of the blocks – about 25 tons or about 55,115 pounds each – from Mexico to the Port of Valencia.
An investigation by the Civil Guard, national police and customs officers was launched into the apparent shell company importing the blocks.
When a shipment arrived in Valencia in mid-October containing six large blocks of marble, officials noticed strange markings on the base of one of the blocks. They monitored the stone as it was transported to a quarry in the town of La Romana in Alicante.
Subsequent raids of the quarry led to the arrest of five people, the confiscation of 352kg – or 776 pounds – of methamphetamine.
“To avoid detection, the suspects had drilled holes – or cylindrical cavities – into the marble, in which they had hidden 43 plastic-wrapped packets of the drug,” the Civil Guard said in a statement. “Once the plastic packages were inserted into the cavities – a task performed in Mexico – the blocks were sealed with resin, topped with a marble cover and finally finished off with very tough mortar.”
A second shipment intercepted by customs officials found another drilled-out block, this time containing 32 cylindrical cavities holding 400kg – or 881 pounds – of methamphetamine.
Officials said it was Spain’s largest methamphetamine seizure.
Five guns and $166,820 in cash were recovered. Investigators also seized 19 properties, 14 vehicles and froze seven bank accounts. Twenty-six “uncontaminated” blocks of marble were confiscated.