Madrid airport luggage handlers smuggle 17 kilos of cocaine into Spain

4 luggage handlers at Madrid Barajas Airport have been arrested for smuggling cocaine into Spain by taking advantage of their position and access to luggage that is unloaded off air crafts.

A bag with over 17 kilograms(!) of cocaine was loaded onto the plane from an unspecified destination. The “loaders” then contacted their friends who worked at Barajas with identification details of the bag that had the drug. Once the bag arrived at Barajas, the luggage handlers picked it up and sent it to the person responsible for delivering missing luggage to its owners (who was also part of the scheme) — this is how they had planned to get it out of the airport. Sounds too easy to be possible, eh?

It seems like this wasn’t the first time it has happened, but the first time they’ve been caught. It is unclear at what stage they got caught, and how.

Spain has a serious cocaine problem: 3% of adults in the country consume cocaine (even more than the US), making Spain the largest consumer in Europe.

Spain is very lax in many aspects: it’s rules are not applied stringently, especially at the airports the controls are quite loose, nobody seems to be really bothered. For example: I have American friends living here for years without papers, sin problema. Once, one of them got questioned on her overstay when she re-entered Spain from the US. She told them she had fallen in love, that’s why she didn’t go back when she should have. Apparently, the officer smiled and let her back into the country! It could have been her lucky day, but I still don’t think that’s acceptable.

Another example: smoking marijuana in public is illegal here (you can grow and smoke it at home!), yet every one does it — I don’t know anyone who has been caught.

In my opinion, no matter what soup you are in, if you look innocent, behave with the authorities, and are a little smart, you’ll probably get away with it in Spain. So it doesn’t surprise me that even authorities take advantage of this chilled attitude. I am glad they got caught. Hopefully this will make Barajas re-evaluate their procedures and tighten controls!