Posted February 24, 2008
A private detective has been arrested on suspicion of helping a gang smuggle £25million worth of cocaine. Retired police officer Antonio Jimenez, 53, was remanded in custody on Thursday by a judge investigating the loss of half a ton of cocaine from a container docked in Barcelona in 2005.
Jimenez was a business partner of Maria Fernandez Lado, 57, founder of Metodo 3, the agency charging £50,000 a month to search for Madeleine.
Spanish police had the container under surveillance following a tip-off. But Jimenez, then a chief inspector with the Drugs and Organised Crime Unit of the National Police, is suspected of providing vital information to the gang.
He retired from the police shortly afterwards.
The cocaine was smuggled into Spain in 974 packets on the ship Hispanota, which was transporting frozen prawns from Venezuela. It docked in Barcelona in November 2004 and the drugs were taken on January 24, 2005. Five officers from the Civil Guard have also been arrested and remanded in custody. A serving police officer has been arrested and released on bail.