Incredible but true. White in color, with a wingspan of 4.5 meters and capable of carrying up to 150 kilograms of cargo, these are the characteristics of the huge drone that was seized earlier this week by Spanish police in the province of Malaga.
According to the Spanish daily El Pais, the drone in question belonged to a gang of French drug traffickers who were trying to establish themselves on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain.
The criminal gang used the drone to transport drugs from Morocco to the small town of Almachar, the same source said.
The drone has the capacity to fly up to seven hours at a maximum speed of 170 km/h and its capacity to transport drugs is “enormous”, Antonio Rodríguez Puertas, chief inspector in charge of the police’s organized crime unit in Málaga, told the press.
“We’ve never seen a drone this big used for this purpose,” said Pedro Luis Bardón of the Spanish police’s airborne resources unit. “There were precedents, but not like this. This is the largest ever discovered in Spain.”
Manufactured in China, the drone, which is estimated to cost between 30,000 and 150,000 Euros, has five motors, four of which are electric and allow the aircraft to land and take off vertically. The fifth is a thermal engine with two cylinders for the horizontal flight.
It can reach up to 2000 m of altitude, but in general it flew much lower in order to save fuel and to avoid its detection.
However, it could be detected by radar and its electromagnetic communications tracked, which is what allowed the police to discover its existence. The interior of the drone is hollow, normally intended to house cameras or other electrical equipment, but the gang was using it to load packages of narcotics, especially cocaine, which bring in the biggest profits.
“Technology makes our lives easier, but it also falls into the hands of the wrong people,” said Málaga police chief Roberto Rodríguez Velasco. “They innovate and we have to do it too”.