Drug traffickers arrested in Spain with 64 kilos (141 pounds) of high-purity heroin from Afganistan planned to distribute the drug throughout Europe, police officials said Monday.

The ring was dismantled Sunday in the province of Barcelona in an operation that led to the arrest of eight people, six of them Pakistani, and the seizure of cash and documents.

The news was announced at a press conference by officials of the Civil Guard, National Police and the delegate of the national government in the Catalonia region of Llanos de Luna.

When investigations got underway last May, investigators discovered they were up against an organized, well-connected criminal outfit.

"The brains of the operation were citizens based in Pakistan, who had created a complex system for transporting the drug - the Spanish citizens were the last link in the chain," Rodrigo Mendoza, who led National Police investigations, said.

Those under arrest pretended to send documents regarding international business operations by mail, in which they camouflaged the drug in different packets, as well as in the double bottoms of containers and other merchandise.

In December, agents in charge of the investigation intercepted a container of maritime cargo with 57.7 kilos (61 pounds) of the drug.

"The detainees had created a sham company supposedly in the business of exporting and importing food, and tried to bring in 57.7 kilos (61 pounds) of the drug hidden among 20,000 kilos (22 tons) of salt," Mendoza said.

Investigators consider that the amount of heroin seized, enough for up to 1.5 million doses, was to be trafficked not only in Spain but throughout Europe. EFE