Officers surround one of Spain’s most notorious criminals, Sito Miñanco, who was arrested last week
Officers surround one of Spain’s most notorious criminals, Sito Miñanco, who was arrested last week Spain’s National Police

Spanish police made a second huge drugs haul in under a week on the Costa del Sol, in a raid which netted 3,500 kilos of cocaine worth around €120m.

Officers said the find was a record haul in the country's southern Malaga province and among the largest busts ever in Spain.

Officers said more than two tons of the illegal drug were uncovered from a house near the four-star Estepona Palace Hotel on Monday (12 February), overlooking the westernmost part of the Mediterranean Sea.

The second raid came at an industrial unit in the area, where large quantities of cocaine were found hidden inside containers of salt.

Spain's national police said five people had been detained, adding it does not rule out further arrests as its investigation continues.

Last Friday (9 February), detectives in southern Spain said they had smashed the long-running drugs ring of one of the country's most notorious criminals, Sito Miñanco, dubbed the Spanish Pablo Escobar.

Police said they seized 5,000 kilograms of various narcotics and have arrested 43 people, but have yet to put a street value on the haul.

Early morning raids were launched in Cadiz, Marbella, Sevilla, Madrid, Barcelona and Galicia, in which two officers were shot and wounded.

The daughter of the drug kingpin Rosa María Prado Pouso was among those arrested. The real name of Sito Miñanco, aged 62, is José Ramón Prado Bugallo.

Police informers

Police also said they confiscated real estate and property worth €15m. They have also frozen the assets on another 171 properties, 139 bank accounts and five ships.

Born in Cambados, Galicia, Miñanco entered organised crime in the 1980s, trafficking large amounts of contraband tobacco as a speedboat pilot.

By 1986, after serving a few short jail terms, he set up his own gang and smuggled tobacco as a cover as he moved into trafficking cocaine.

His operations grew, but in 1993 he was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined €209m for drug trafficking.

The kingpin was out on parole seven years later, only to be jailed again for 16 years in 2004 for his part in smuggling five-tonnes of cocaine into Spain.

However, since mid-2014 Miñanco had been allowed to leave jail for part of the week, under a part-time release scheme.

But the smuggler soon went back at his old operations. Reports say he had informers inside the police to tip him off about investigations, and inside Spanish Telecoms giant Telefonica, to let him know when his phones were being tapped according to EuroWeekly News.