Portuguese authorities said Monday they had seized a shipment of 5.2 tonnes of cocaine on a sailing ship. Police made possible the arrest of two Spanish nationals and a Peruvian.
Judicial police chief Luis Neves said 183 packages of drugs were found at a naval base outside Lisbon, and that this was “the largest transport of narcotics in Portugal in 15 years”.
“This is a severe blow to those who want to flood Europe with cocaine,” he told reporters.
Investigators boarded the ship as part of an operation called “White Tide”, in co-operation with Spanish authorities and with the support of the US and Britain.
The three arrested men are suspected of belonging to a powerful criminal network that smuggled large quantities of cocaine from Latin America to Europe.
One is a trafficker already known to authorities and has been under an arrest warrant since March, Spanish authorities said in a statement.
“Cooperation between the two countries” allows us to send a clear message that it will not be easy to smuggle into Spain and Portugal, “said Spain’s narcotics police chief Antonio Martinez Duarte.
In Belgium meanwhile, Belgian prosecutors said they had dismantled a gang suspected of smuggling 15 tonnes of cocaine, arresting 27 suspects in raids across the country.
Another suspect was arrested in Spain and in Belgian raids police confiscated drugs, weapons and luxury goods.
Spanish authorities announced on Friday that they had boarded a sailing ship carrying 2.5 tonnes of cocaine in Portugal’s Azores archipelago, arresting two people on board and three others in the region around Malaga in southern Spain.
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