Operation 'Manolos'

Basque Police dismantle network dealing cocaine shaped as Manolos


The busted drugs ring was smuggling cocaine from Colombia into the Basque Country disguised as Manolo Blahnik designer shoes. Six people were arrested.

  • A pair of Manolo Blahnik designed stilettos. Photo: Wikipedia.

    A pair of Manolo Blahnik designed stilettos. Photo: Wikipedia.


Police in the Basque Country have dismantled an international drugs-trafficking network which had been smuggling cocaine in from Colombia disguised as Manolo Blahniks.

The police force of Bilbao's anti-drugs squad had been working in close cooperation with police in the neighbouring towns of Getxo and Muskiz and Civil Guard officers at Barcelona's Prat airport. The drug in question was being sold in Bilbao and surrounding areas of the Biscay province.

According to the Basque Home Office, the dismantled network had been the most active of its kind currently in existence in the area of Bilbao. It had been operating in the city for the past two years and used a variety of systems for smuggling in the cocaine. Four kilos of the drug were seized during the operation, and a total of six people were put under arrest including five Colombians and one Spaniard.

The police investigation, initiated last August, had been dubbed 'Operation Manolos' after officers from Bilbao's Anti-drugs squad discovered a drugs racket headed by a 34-year-old man and his 24-year-old wife, both Colombian, from their home in the Biscayan town of Gorliz.

The initial investigation revealed that for the past two years the couple had been smuggling cocaine into the Basque Country, having sculpted the drug into the form of women's shoes, which the traffickers described as 'Manolos', after Manolo Blahnik, and sold at 50,000 euros a pair.




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