By Sally Underwood •
Published: 24 Feb 2021 • 13:58
Police Seize 3 Tonnes of Cocaine from Ship at Sea. Image: Guardia Civil
Officers from the National Police and Guardia Civil came together with Customs officials and the Spanish navy to raid the ship, seizing three tonnes of cocaine from the vessel at the same time.
According to the Guardia Civil the traffickers had planned to tranship the drugs to other smaller vessels as it passed by the coast of Galicia.
Once on board the smaller boats, the drugs would have been distributed to several European countries, according to police.
The investigation began in May of last year, after officials learned of the alleged illegal activities of a criminal organisation based in the O Salnes region of the province of Pontevedra.
Agents discovered the group was using a vessel carrying large quantities of cocaine in the Galicia area, which was being used to transport the drugs to smaller boats.
Their investigation focused on a vessel named NEHIR, measuring 52 meters in length and sailing under the flag of the Republic of Palau.
When officers realised weather conditions meant the ship would not be able to transfer to the smaller boats, police decided to intercept the vessel themselves.
The Spanish navy boat, alongside a helicopter and boats from Maritime Service of the Gijon Guardia Civil and Customs, located the ship, which is said to have had several large packages on board.
After identifying themselves as police, officers say the crew of the NEHIR flooded the ship in an attempt to hide the evidence.
Police stepped in, however, recovering the crew and the drugs.
The nine crew members have now been arrested and have been made available to the Judicial Authority in Spain.
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