MADRID (AP) — Spain’s Civil Guard says it has brought down a criminal network making lucrative profits by smuggling glass eels to Asia, a burgeoning illicit traffic that is worrying both law enforcement agencies and scientists.
Four Chinese citizens, three Spaniards and three Moroccans have been arrested in Spain in an operation coordinated by the European Union’s police body, Europol, and involving Spanish and Portuguese investigators.
Police say 460 kilograms (1,014 pounds) of glass eels were seized in southern Spain with a market value over 400 million euros ($490 million). The ring exported the baby eels bought in Spain through Portugal and Morocco, either concealed in suitcases or in cargo containers sent to Hong Kong, Mainland China and South Korea.
Police also seized 364 suitcases possibly used to smuggle the eels.