BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Organized crime prosecutors in Romania found more than 2.3 tons of cocaine with a street value of 625 million euros ($694 million) stashed in banana crates on ships, they said Friday.
The drugs were transported from Colombia and other parts of South America to Romania between April and June and were headed for Western Europe, prosecutors said in a statement. The high-grade cocaine was hidden on ships harbored in the Black Sea port of Constanta and registered as 320 tons of bananas.
Chief anti-crime prosecutor Daniel Horodniceanu said Friday it was the biggest-ever seizure of cocaine in Romania and one of the biggest in Europe in recent years.
A Bucharest court ruled that the Moroccan suspected leader of the smuggling ring, as well as four Lithuanians and a Colombian, be arrested for 30 days.
The statement said the suspects rented a building in the seaside resort of Eforie Sud and were unloading the drugs from the ships. Prosecutors and police officers raided the building Wednesday evening.
The Moroccan suspect identified as Mimoun Kaabouni, known as "Rocky," was detained by Spanish authorities at Malaga airport on Wednesday as he tried to leave Spain.
A total of 150 Romanian police officers were helped by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Spanish Civil Guard in the investigation.
This story has been corrected to give the size of the haul as 2.3 tons, not 2.3 million tons.