Spanish police make record cocaine bust in Ecuadorean banana shipment

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish police have made a record cocaine seizure, finding 9.5 tonnes of the drug hidden among boxes of bananas in a shipping container from Ecuador in the southern port of Algeciras.

The stash was the largest ever found in a single container in Spain, the police said in a statement.

"This operation was an unprecedented blow to one of the world's most important criminal organizations in cocaine distribution, targeting major criminal networks in Europe," it said.

The boxes were marked with more than 30 different logos matching the different European criminal rings that were to receive the cocaine.

The police did not name the organization or the criminal networks in Europe.

The drug was found on Aug. 23 in a refrigerated container, police added.

The criminal organization in Ecuador had a large network to ship drugs to Spain, mainly to the ports of Algeciras and Vigo in the northwest, through an international banana trading company located in Ecuador's main banana port, Machala.

They were able to ship up to 40 containers a month, some of them with drugs, police said.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo, editing by Inti Landauro and Devika Syamnath)