A FORMER Actual Madrid footballer is amongst 18 folks arrested when Spanish cops smashed an alleged cocaine smuggling ring.
Colombian striker Edwin Congo, 43, was quizzed by detectives probing an ingenious operation to visitors medication “throughout Europe” from South America layered in cardboard fruit bins.
Congo was signed by Madrid boss John Toshack for £4.three million in 1999 earlier than the Welshman was sacked for the second time.
And bizarrely he by no means performed an official recreation for the Spanish giants – though he hit the headlines in 2017 by scoring in a pleasant for Actual Madrid legends in opposition to Liverpool at Anfield.
Particulars his arrest emerged after the seizure of ton of cocaine which had been impregnated within the layers of bins carrying limes and pineapples.
Footage launched by Spanish police at the moment confirmed the extraordinary lengths the traffickers went to.
Drug barons flew corrupt chemists to Holland to extract the cocaine from the cardboard, cops stated.
As soon as extracted, the drug was shipped throughout Europe, investigators say.
And the Colombian kingpins allegedly sought assist from Spanish cartel Los Castanitas to make sure the logistical success of their operation.
Francisco Tejon, an alleged chief of Los Castanas nicknamed Isco just like the Actual Madrid midfielder, made headlines in 2018 by starring in a YouTube music video surrounded by scantily-clad girls whereas he was on the run.
Spain’s Nationwide Police stated at the moment: “The organisation that has been smashed had its operational base in Spain and allegedly used a classy system to cover the medication which concerned impregnating the cocaine between the superimposed layers of paper through the elaboration of the cardboard bins.
“The cocaine was subsequently extracted by way of complicated chemical processes.
“Every field contained small portions of the drug, lower than 100 grams, which have been despatched from Colombia to Europe in transport containers with pineapples and limes.”
Chemical merchandise wanted to extract the drug from the cardboard have been seized in a police operation in Holland.
‘THE SURGEON’ LINK
The ton of pure cocaine was seized in Bulgarian capital Sofia after undercover cops tracked it from Greece.
Spanish cops added: “The investigation started round a 12 months in the past when police detected the unlawful actions of a person nicknamed ‘The Surgeon’ or ‘Little Physician’, who had been arrested a number of years in the past for medication trafficking and was well-known to officers.
“This individual, a physician whose sufferers included a well-known footballer, used his clinic amongst different functions for negotiations with different folks linked to the probe.”
9 of the 18 arrests happened in Span, 4 in Bulgaria, three in Holland and two in Colombia.
Edwin Congo, who has appeared on Spanish TV sports activities present El Chiringuito since retiring, has been launched by police and is protesting his innocence.
He has not been charged with any crime however has been warned he faces extra questioning at a later date.
He stated on the TV present: “It’s not a snug scenario for me however I’m dwelling and really calm.
“I’ve been requested a critical of questions and the police confirmed me images of individuals.
“They’ve informed me I’ve to keep away from folks which can be no good for me, that I needed to be extra acutely aware of issues and do issues in another way.”
MOST READ IN WORLD NEWS
He added: “I’ve bought nothing to do with cocaine or cocaine trafficking, nothing in any respect.
“I’ve achieved enterprise with emeralds with one of many folks within the images, that’s all.”
Congo was loaned to Spanish sides Valladolid and Vitoria and likewise had a mortgage spell with French facet Toulouse in his three years on the books at Actual Madrid
He represented Colombia 17 instances and performed on the 1999 and 2004 Copa America tournaments.