Malaga (Spain), May 17 (IANS) Spanish police have seized 170 kg of marijuana hidden among 20 tonnes of lettuce that was being transported to Ireland.

The joint operation between Spanish police, the militarized civil guard and Irish police led to the arrest of five Irish nationals and the dismantling of a drug trafficking ring based on Spain's southeastern Costa del Sol, a police statement was cited as saying by Efe news on Thursday.

Investigators received a tip-off that drugs were being carried out of an industrial area and rushed to the site, where they followed and stopped a truck in which, "after an almost five-hour search, they found 170 kg of marijuana hidden among pallets filled with lettuce", read the statement.

The investigation was launched in April when Irish police warned Spanish authorities that they believed a drug trafficking ring was operating on the coast and was exporting drugs to Ireland.

Police also carried out four raids in which they seized three vehicles, 10 mobile phones, three computers and 20 tonnes of lettuce that have been donated to food banks.