The birds-eye shots of the Vuelta a España can be mesmerizing, even awe-inspiring, as dozens of riders weave their way by way of the Pyrenees and Spanish villas as element of the grueling, multi-stage cycling race. These very same shots, it turns out, can be incriminating.
Police in Spain say they seized 40 marijuana plants that had been recorded by a helicopter that was tracking cyclists in the Vuelta on Saturday. The helicopter was hovering more than participants as they completed the eighth stage of the race, which ran from Valls and culminated in the Catalonian town of Igualada, when the camera panned on the rooftop of an apartment, exactly where cannabis could be noticed developing in two separate plots.
The pictures quickly went viral online, eventually prompting authorities to take action. A spokesperson for the Mossos, the police in Catalonia, confirmed to ESPN that the footage from the helicopter led to the confiscation of the plants.
“We received info thanks to the pictures that folks posted on social media that had been taken from the helicopter of La Vuelta,” the spokesperson mentioned. “That has helped us to seize 40 marijuana plants. No a single has been arrested, but the investigation is nevertheless ongoing to come across these accountable.”
Individual consumption of cannabis has been decriminalized in Spain, even though cultivation remains illegal. And despite the fact that law enforcement’s attitudes toward pot are reasonably relaxed, recreational and medicinal use are nevertheless officially illegal. Final month, according to The Guardian, police there confiscated 22,000 marijuana plants and 281 kg of cannabis buds at a farm close to Alcuéscar in the Cáceres province, representing the biggest marijuana seizure in the western Spanish area.
Regardless of marijuana’s legal status there, Spain is residence to hundreds of cannabis clubs that present marijuana to registered members. Nonetheless, Spanish lawmakers have however to show a great deal interest in embracing outright legalization for recreational and medicinal use. In 2017, just after the government of Catalonia, an autonomous area in northeastern Spain that is residence to Barcelona, legalized marijuana, the central Spanish government declared the statute unconstitutional.
Like the Tour de France, the Vuelta a España (translation: “tour of Spain”) is a premier cycling competitors featuring some of the greatest riders in the planet testing themselves in a rigorous, 21-day-lengthy race by way of strenuous terrain. The Vuelta, which dates back to the 1930s, started on August four and will conclude in the Spanish capital of Madrid on September 15.