Vuelta TV coverage helps authorities nab illegal marijuana operation

Spanish police seized an illegal marijuana grow after TV cameras covering the Vuelta a España captured images of the plants.

MADRID, Spain (AFP) – Spanish police said Wednesday they have seized marijuana plants growing on an apartment rooftop after they were spotted by a TV helicopter filming the Vuelta a España.

The apartments in question were captured by television helicopters during Saturday’s 8th stage of the race, a 166.9-kilometer journey across Catalonia from Valls to Igualada. The stage was won by Nikias Arndt after a large breakaway fractured from the peloton on the hilly stage.

As the helicopter tracked the cyclists as they sped toward the finish in Igualada, TV cameras saw the plants growing atop the apartment buildings, spread across two plantations.

Catalonia’s regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, opened an investigation after snippets of the video — which was aired live — went viral on social media and officers seized the roughly 40 marijuana plants on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the force said.

No arrests were made when the police burst in to remove the plants and officers are still looking for the owners of the plantation, she added.

The Vuelta is one of the three major European professional cycling stage races along with the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

The race continues on Wednesday with stage covering 180 kilometers (110 miles) from Saint-Palais in France to Urdax in Navarra in northern Spain.