A United Nations campaign to supply rice to the impoverished was “hijacked” by cocaine smugglers to divert more than 30 kilos of cocaine into Portugal.
The ruse was ingenious – and actually did involve shipping rice to the poor, as part of a programme dubbed “Fome Zero”.
National tabloid Correio da Manhã explains that the hundreds of tons of rice were doctored in Argentina by cocaine in liquid form.
The rice absorbed the cocaine and, for all intents and purposes, looked exactly like rice.
It was only when it arrived in Guinea-Bissau that traffickers managed to remove the drug “via a chemical process” and then ship it to Portugal and Spain.
The scheme was foiled recently by Argentine police who have rounded up at least 13 people in South America, including Colombians.
According to CM, the value of the 30 kilos discovered recently was “more than a €1 million”.
There is no information, however, on how long this network had been running.
In Portugal, PJ police have been informed, but it is not clear what their input can be.
CM explains that the rice was ‘doctored’ by being boiled in liquid cocaine.
Narcotics investigator Guillermo Gonzalez told the UK’s Daily Mail earlier this week that the ruse was “a new method. This is the first time we have seen technology this sophisticated”, he added.