SPANISH police have impounded three underwater drones built specifically to smuggle narcotics from Morocco via the Strait of Gibraltar.
The inventive method made use of unmanned submersibles which are able to carry up to 200kg of drugs.
Their discovery is the culmination of over a year-long investigation, with eight people arrested in Cadiz, Malaga, and Barcelona who are thought to be behind an operation that supplied the drones to drug smugglers across the continent.
According to the Spanish authorities, it is the first known instance of an underwater vehicle being operated unmanned for the purposes of drug smuggling.
The police said: “These devices could allow drug traffickers to transport large quantities of narcotics remotely across the Strait of Gibraltar.”
In total, police seized 14kg of hashish, 8kg of marijuana, €156,000 in cash, and six drones.
The drones were equipped with sophisticated technology, allowing their remote operation from anywhere in the world.
Two of the men arrested were father and son, with one of them a fully qualified helicopter pilot who may have been the brains behind the operation.
Spain has become the epicentre of drug smuggling into mainland Europe, owing to its proximity to Morocco, one of the world’s largest hashish producers and its colonial ties to the Americas, where the bulk of the world’s cocaine comes from.