Both illicit and legal drugs have been seized from two separate smuggling operations in Spain and England, including 2.5 million metric tons (MT) of cocaine in a Costa Rican pineapple shipment, and 16.5 million cigarettes in a Vietnamese consignment of kiwifruit and oranges in the U.K.

The cocaine was found by Guardia Civil officers during an operation in the Algeciras region, hailed as one of the most significant busts ever connected to a port in the European Union.

Six people have been arrested in relation to the case.

“Agents have dismantled a network that introduced large quantities of cocaine hidden in a container loaded with pineapples from Costa Rica,” the Guardia Civil said in a release.

“The organization used as cover a merchant engaged in the importation of perishable products from South America.”

The release added that the investigation began in late 2012 when police discovered several individuals, allegedly linked to drug trafficking, had started a business with a single administrator.

“To avoid suspicion the traffickers used the name of a company already created. During the investigation it was also found that the only activity of the company was importing fruit from different countries of South America to Spain. To transport these goods, cargo containers shipped on vessels bound for different Spanish ports,” the release said.

“In late April it was found that the investigated company was to receive at the port of Algeciras in C diz three containers loaded with pineapples from Costa Rica.

“Once in our country they were inspected and inside was 2,515 kilograms of cocaine distributed in 2,296 packets hidden among the fruit.”

Police arrested four people who were allegedly going to take over the cocaine when it was being delivered to a warehouse in Valdemoro which was believed to be used as a distribution center. Two more arrests were made in the city of Getafe close to Madrid.

“This seizure is one of the most important of those in ports in the European Union,” the release added.

The haul coincides with a call from five Nobel Prize winning economists to end the war on drugs, signing the foreword of a report by a London School of Economics’ expert group.

The ‘Ending the Drug Wars’ authors urged governments to redirect resources away from “enforcement led and prohibition focused strategies, toward effective, evidence based policies underpinned by rigorous economic analysis”.

“The drug war s failure has been recognized by public health professionals, security experts, human rights authorities and now some of the world s most respected economists,” said report editor John Collins.

“It will take time for a new international strategy to emerge. However, the most immediate task is ensuring a sound economic basis for the policies, and then to reallocate international resources accordingly.”

Expert group chair Danny Quah said leaders needed to recognize that “toeing the line” on current drug control strategies came with extraordinary human and financial costs to their citizens and economies.

“The UN must recognise its role is to assist states as they pursue best practice policies based on scientific evidence, not undermine or counteract them. If this alignment occurs, a new and effective international regime can emerge that effectively tackles the global drug problem,” Quah said.

“If not, states are likely to move ahead unilaterally and the international coordinating opportunities that the UN affords will be lost. This report sets out a roadmap for finally ending the drug wars.”

Legal drug smuggling in the U.K.

Elsewhere in Europe, one of Britain’s biggest ever raids on cigarette smuggling took place recently, after customs officers seized a ‘fruit’ consignment that contained 16.5 million cigarettes, the Manchester Evening News reported.

The story reported the officers raided an industrial unit in Castleton, Rochdale, and found a shipment alleged to have come from Vietnam with oranges and kiwifruit used as ‘cover load’.

The story reported the Manchester Crown Court heard Neil Pickering, 37, and Anthony Bower, 51, were employees of the kingpin behind the operation, who has not yet been brought to justice.

A third suspect, courier Philip Hughes, 45 has been given a 24 week sentence, suspended for two years, the story reported.


Eu wants shocking pictures on cigarette packets

Vegetable mixture: cheap cigarettes free shipping china tax free save money!

“Imagine that a jumbo jet with 300 passengers crashed every day. People just wouldn’t fly anymore,” said Martina P tschke Langer of the German Cancer Research Center. Some 110,000 die of smoking related diseases very year, according to the center.

But that doesn’t deter many smokers. “The addiction is just too great,” P tschke Langer added.

A quarter of all German adults regularly light up. The figures are even higher elsewhere in South Korea, Russia or Bangladesh more than half of all adults smoke.

In Germany, smoking has been a topic of intense debate for years. The smoking ban in bars and public buildings still triggers emotional debate. Each state has enacted its own ban.

In the last couple of days, German media outlets have begun speculating about the European Union’s new Tobacco Directive. The European Commission’s Directorate for Health and Consumer Affairs is set to present the Directive to the public on Wednesday (19.12.2012).

It’s likely that cigarette packets will soon have to display shocking pictures which graphically underline the dangers of smoking.

The most common smoking related diseases are lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Australia, Canada and Brazil already have legislation requiring graphic images on cigarette packaging. The text “Smoking causes mouth cancer” accompanied by a photo of a person suffering from the cancer are combined on the package. So far, packs of cigarettes in Germany have been required to bear written warnings such as “smoking kills.”

Graphic images on cigarette packs have been shown to be effective

“It is an enormous change,” Dirk Pangritz of the German Cigarette Association said of the information on the EU rules he had read about in the media.

According to reports, as much as 75 percent of a pack of cigarettes would be covered with written and photographic warnings. “There is not much room left for the actual brand,” Pangritz told DW, adding that he found the plans were “no longer bearable.” If the EU’s proposal goes through, the Reemtsma tobacco company has said it would take legal action against the rules.

Despite the criticism, Pangritz said his association, which represents several tobacco companies, is aware of its responsibility to consumers. The association, he said, supports businesses to ensure tobacco products are not sold to anyone under 18.

In fact, fewer young people are smoking, P tschke Langer told DW. Surveys in Australia and Canada showed that nine out of 10 young people were in favor of clear warnings. P tschke Langer said a majority in Germany also support such warnings.

Photos are effective, she said, adding, “We have seen in studies that warnings with pictures increase the likelihood that people will stop smoking.”

She also disagreed with the tobacco industry’s argument that all smokers already know about the health risks associated with smoking.

“People with poorer education in particular are deprived of the information,” she said.

As people who have smoked for many years have grown accustomed to the warning texts, P tschke Langer said it made sense to change the strategy once in a while. “Warning notices are an effective and cost efficient means of communication since they directly reach every smoker,” she added.

Pangritz of the tobacco industry says things are going too far

But tobacco is not the only unhealthy product on the market. It’s also unhealthy to consume large amounts of sugar or fat. That puts tobacco companies in the same boat as other industries, Pangritz said.

“Imagine if soft drinks could only be sold in one kind of bottle,” Pangritz said, adding that it would destroy brands.

Tobacco, P tschke Langer countered, deserves to be kept in a class of its own.

“Tobacco is unique in that half of all smokers’ deaths are related to its consumption that’s not the case for any other product,” she said, adding that sugar becomes unhealthy only in large amounts while smoke damages the body from the first whiff.