LA RIOJA – Operation EIKEL has resulted in the arrest of two men and the investigation into a third individual for various offenses related to public health and membership of a criminal group.
Receiving a shipment of cocaine from Colombia, three individuals were responsible for the operation, which involved using a “mule” or “human courier.” Unfortunately, one of these couriers passed away at the Santo Domingo de la Calzada health centre in La Rioja when 2 of the 93 cocaine capsules he had ingested ruptured inside his stomach.
Tragic death of cocaine mule
The investigation began on April 24 when authorities received a report of a young man’s death. The man had been abandoned at the Santo Domingo de la Calzada health centre.
Medical professionals were unable to save the young man’s life after 2 of the capsules he had ingested burst inside his stomach and subsequently caused his death.
Autopsy revealed 1,200 grams of high-purity cocaine
After the body was transferred to the Legal Medicine Institute of La Rioja for an autopsy, it was discovered that the deceased had 93 capsules of high-purity cocaine inside his stomach, weighing a total of 1,200 grams.
Investigators were able to identify the three individuals who brought the victim to the health centre and left him without any identification. Furthermore, it was determined that the 21-year-old deceased person from Colombia had been recruited to work as a “mule” or human courier (a term used to describe individuals who ingest drug-filled capsules to illegally transport them into the country).
Arrival at Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas airport
On April 24, the two detainees and the individual under investigation travelled to Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport to pick up the victim, who was travelling from Colombia to Spain with his stomach filled with cocaine capsules. Once he landed, they put him in a vehicle to continue the journey to Vitoria, where they planned to extract the drug capsules for adulteration and distribution.
During the trip, they decided to stop in the Riojan town of Santurde to rest. However, suddenly and unexpectedly, the victim began to feel unwell. Moreover, after taking his identification documents, they left him at the Santo Domingo de la Calzada health centre.
Investigation uncovers route and drug destination
Once the deceased person’s identity was fully established, investigators were able to trace his itinerary up to the point of his arrival in Spain, as well as the vehicle he had travelled in from Madrid to La Rioja. After analysing all the information, it was determined that the narcotics were destined for the Basque Country, specifically the town of Vitoria, where two of the individuals who abandoned the victim were hiding.
Consequently, the Guardia Civil carried out two raids on the residences of the two detainees in Vitoria, who are suspected of being responsible for the incident. With the seized drugs, once adulterated and before reaching the market, a total of 13,069 doses could have been produced, with an estimated street value of €274,455.
Operation EIKEL was successfully conducted by the Guardia Civil in La Rioja
The operation was carried out by the Organised Crime Anti-Drug Team (EDOA) of the Guardia Civil in La Rioja, with the participation of agents from the Rural Action Group (GAR).
The proceedings and the detainees were placed at the disposal of the Instruction Court No. 2 of Haro. Furthermore, the judicial authority has ordered the imprisonment of the two detainees. The third participant is being investigated for the same crimes.