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Spanish policeman killed in drug op chase

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Madrid (AFP)

A policeman was killed on Thursday as he chased a car with a French number plate carrying hashish in a drug trafficking hotspot in southern Spain, police said.

This is the latest incident in a region where police are implementing a crackdown on drug trafficking after Spain's previous interior minister vowed the area would "not be dominated by narcos."

Fermin Cabezas Gonzalez, who was married and father of a 10-year-old, was killed in Los Barrios in the province of Cadiz, the entry point for 40 percent of all drugs smuggled into Spain.

A spokesman for the Civil Guard police force to which he belonged told AFP two French citizens of Moroccan origin had subsequently been detained "as part of an operation against drug trafficking."

He would not comment on the circumstances of Cabezas's death but Spanish media reported he had been chasing the car on a motorbike when he hit a truck.

The spokesman said there was hashish in the car he had been chasing, but could not say how much as a probe is underway.

Andalusia, a sprawling region in southern Spain where Cadiz is located, with high unemployment and close to Morocco, a key source of hashish, has been the scene of brazen drug trafficking activity over the years.

Traffickers have landed shipments of drugs on beaches in broad daylight and have physically attacked police officers.

In February last year, some 20 people stormed a hospital in the town of La Linea de la Concepcion to free a suspected drug trafficker who had been injured in a motorbike crash as he tried to escape arrest.

The AUGC Civil Guard police union also warned that "legions of youth" in the poor area were flocking to work for narco gangs that were able to pay salaries "that not even a multinational could pay its executives."

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