By Anna Ellis • 08 March 2023 • 15:04
1,100 kilos of cocaine intercepted in waters west of the Canary Islands. Image: swa182 / Shutterstock.com.
The Spanish Tax Agency, as part of a joint operation with the Guardia Civil and the National Police, intercepted a sailing boat named My Love in the waters west of the Canary Islands, which was carrying a cargo of cocaine.
After the boarding by the Special Operations Vessel Fulmar of the Customs Surveillance Service of the Tax Agency, the two crew members, of Spanish nationality, were arrested, Spain’s Guardia Civil confirmed on Wednesday, March 8.
The crew and the sailboat have been transferred to the port of Tenerife to be brought before the courts. As part of another investigation, a second sailing boat was boarded, also carrying drugs, so the amount seized on the two boats totals more than 1,100 kilos of cocaine.
Within the framework of the surveillance and prevention actions that are usually carried out, and through the international communication system between the MAOC-N and CITCO, information was received from the US DEA, with the collaboration of the British NCA, indicating that a sailboat called My Love could be near the position of the vessel Fulmar. As a result, the Customs Surveillance Service patrol boat received instructions to head towards the vessel, which was located and boarded on the afternoon of 3 March, some 350 miles from Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
On the vessel My Love, flying the Belgian flag, it could be seen at a glance that it was carrying an undetermined quantity of bales of the type normally used to transport cocaine. After obtaining authorisation from the Belgian authorities, the sailboat was boarded, the cocaine on board was seized and the two crew members, both Spanish nationals, were arrested.
This operation was directed and coordinated by the Anti-Drugs Prosecutor’s Office of the Audiencia Nacional and the Central Court of Instruction number 5 of the Audiencia Nacional.
It so happens that the Fulmar was involved in another operation which had previously led to the seizure of a first sailing boat also carrying cocaine, which was being towed to the Canary Islands as part of a joint investigation by the three police forces, an action which is still underway.
The conditions of both raids were very complicated, due, in the first case, to the sea situation, and in the second, to the handicap of towing the first sailboat, which made the manoeuvres much more difficult.
In spite of this, the rapid action and experience of the SVA agents involved prevented any incidents from occurring and allowed the operation to be successful on one of the rare occasions when a double intervention is carried out in the same naval operation.
Both the detainees, the boats, the drugs and the police files will be handed over to the judicial authorities. These operations are two more of the operations carried out by the police forces dedicated to the repression of drug trafficking on the so-called ‘Atlantic cocaine route’, known for being used by fishing boats, merchant ships and, as in this case, sailing boats from South America that intend to introduce the drug into Europe.
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Originally from the UK, Anna is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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