A Colombian cocaine cartel has been busted in Palma and Barcelona with the arrest of eight suspects, most of them Colombians. The gang, suspected of smuggling substantial quantities of high quality cocaine into Spain and the Balearics, has been under police surveillance and investigation for the past four months, with the operation being controlled by the drugs squad in Palma, where six of the eight have been arrested in the past 48 hours as police moved in to shut down the cartel. “Operation Salsa” was launched in August when police received information about a group of Colombians smuggling large amounts of cocaine into Majorca. The final stage of the operation was mounted on November 20. Police knew that a shipment was being smuggled into Palma by ferry from Barcelona. Police swooped as the young Colombian known as “El Mono” rode off the ferry on a motorbike. Police stopped and searched the motorbike and found just under half a kilo of cocaine stashed inside. Although no large quantity, in comparison to some of the shipments the gang has apparently smuggled in, it was enough for police to act on. Agents immediately swooped on El Mono's girlfriend, suspected of being in charge of distributing and peddling the drugs in Majorca while a number of other properties in Palma were raided and suspects taken into custody. A similar operation was under way in Barcelona where two people, a father and son, were arrested. Police believe that the Barcelona duo were in charge of mainland operations and the shipments smuggled into Majorca. National Police sources said yesterday that further arrests could stil be made.

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