MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish police said on Friday they had foiled an Italian drug trafficker’s plan to break out of jail in the Canary Islands using climbing equipment and a four-meter-long zeppelin.
“The plan consisted of using a remotely controlled zeppelin to bring him night-vision goggles and climbing equipment with which to escape,” a National Police statement said.
The prisoner, named as Giulio B., 52, was in jail after being caught piloting a seaplane taking 200 kg (440 pounds) of cocaine from Mauritania to the Canaries.
Police said they had arrested three people outside the jail who were preparing the escape, and had intercepted a package sent from Italy containing the balloon, night-vision goggles and climbing gear.
House searches on Grand Canary island had also uncovered a tent and a telephoto lens the gang had used to observe security details at the jail from a hill 600 meters away, as well as plans drawn by the prisoner.
The plan was for Giulio B. to climb out of the prison and meet a driver who would smuggle him off the island, said police, who have been investigating the plot since February.
“They would then have gone abroad to lie low while waiting for forged papers and to continue arranging the shipment of narcotics into our country,” the statement added.
Reporting by Martin Roberts, editing by Tim Pearce