Man Busted With 16 Bags of Heroin Under His Face Mask

Catalonia police have arrested a drug dealer after he was found with 16 bags of heroin hidden beneath his face mask.

Agents of the Mossos d'Esquadra—the police force which has largely replaced the Spanish Policía Nacional and Guardia Civil in the region—caught the man as he was driving on the N-340 road in El Vendrell, Tarragona.

The suspect was visibly nervous as he passed through traffic control and the agents grew suspicious, according to Cronica Global. The officers discovered the drugs and then arrested him on suspicion of a crime against public health, the publication said.

The Mossos d'Esquadra posted a photo of the discovery to Twitter on Tuesday.

Detenim un traficant de drogues que ocultava 16 embolcalls d’heroïna dins de la seva mascareta. Detectat en un control de trànsit a la N-340 al Vendrell #COVID19

— Mossos (@mossos) October 20, 2020

Besides the small green and blue heroin pouches, the photo showed that the man was also in possession of a bundle of cash and an old mobile phone.

The Mossos d'Esquadra wrote: "Stopped a drug trafficker who was hiding 16 heroin wrappers in his face mask. Detected in a traffic control at the N-340 to El Vendrell."

Newsweek has contacted the Mossos d'Esquadra for comment.

It was not the first time police in the country have arrested someone for hiding drugs inside a face mask intended to protect against coronavirus.

Spanish police uncover trend of drug smuggling using face masks

At the end of August, officers in Ourense in northwestern Spain, arrested a 52-year-old man who was hiding drugs inside his mask, according to Cronica Global.

After the drugs were found, the suspect attempted to swallow a white package before trying to flee from officers.

In May, police in Estepona, Malaga, arrested a 35-year-old woman for hiding cocaine beneath her mask, the same publication reported.

The officers stopped her car at a police checkpoint and found that two of the three occupants were carrying drugs.

While one hid the drugs in the mask she was wearing, the other had reportedly hidden them inside her bra.

During this incident, police seized 32 pouches of cocaine and 19 pouches of heroin from the women, according to the reports.

It comes amid a massive crackdown on illegal drugs in Catalonia, which saw one operation deploy 1,000 officers to dismantle criminal networks.

Last week, the Mossos d'Esquadra said they intercepted almost 250 kilograms of cocaine in the port of Barcelona in a huge operation.

Packages of cocaine had been detected in a logistics warehouse 10 days earlier. Agents suspected that drugs, hidden inside a container carrying cargo that declared as coffee from the Dominican Republic, would arrive at the Port of Barcelona.

The cargo, which had actually come from Honduras, was immediately seized and the drugs found were valued at more than 14 million euros ($16.62 million) on the black market.