Las Palmas De Gran Canaria (EFE) which brings to 11.5 tons the amount of this substance seized on this Atlantic route in another freighter, the “Blume”, and a sailboat, “Mambo”, and to 47 those arrested for these events.
In the latest operation, carried out some 115 kilometers southwest of the Canary Islands by the Tax Agency and the National Police, the Customs Surveillance ship “Fulmar” has managed to intercept this cattle transport ship, which was heading to the Middle East, and whose crew, made up of 28 people of nine different nationalities, has been arrested.
The Tax Agency highlights in a statement that this intervention has made it possible to verify that “international organizations reinvent themselves when it comes to transporting drugs from Latin America to Europe, using live cattle to make their control and location difficult.”
This last freighter, with the same Togolese flag and similar dimensions as the ‘Blume’, boarded in the middle of this month also in waters near the Canary Islands, was transporting cattle from Colombia to the Middle East.
The American DEA, the Atlantic Analysis and Operations Center (MAOC-N) and the Intelligence Center Against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO), as well as the Togolese authorities, collaborated in the operation.
Since 2020, the National Police and the Customs Surveillance Service have been monitoring this ship, formerly called “Spiridon”, suspecting that it was used to transport large quantities of drugs loaded in ports or transferred on the high seas.
This vessel was already analyzed within the framework of an investigation carried out by the Central Narcotics Brigade and the Customs Surveillance Service of the Tax Agency in which the ‘Santorum’ brothers, in charge of receiving and introducing large amounts of cocaine.
Despite having been subjected to control and search on that occasion, no drugs could be found inside, although there were sufficient indications that confirmed that it was a boat that was transporting drugs with the excuse of transporting cattle – to countries like Libya, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Curaçao, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Macao, Kuwait and Qatar–, offering products from livestock treated and handled under conditions suitable for international trade.
Finally, the Deputy Directorate of Customs Surveillance established an aeronautical device that allowed the ship ‘Fulmar’ to locate and board the freighter on the afternoon of January 24.
After inspecting the common areas of the merchant, the presence of an undetermined number of bales of those usually used for cocaine trafficking was detected in a feed silo.
For this reason, the 28 crew members of the boat were arrested: ten Tanzanian citizens, five Syrians, four Kenyans, two Ecuadorians, two Panamanians, two Colombians, one Dominican, one Nepali and one Nicaraguan, as well as the apprehension of the ship for transfer to the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The operation has been directed and coordinated by the Anti-Drug Prosecutor of the National Court.
Both the detainees, the boat, the drugs and the police proceedings will be turned over to the Central Investigating Court acting as Guard of the National Court.
This operation is one more of those carried out in the fight against drug trafficking in the so-called ‘Atlantic Route’ of cocaine used by merchants and fishing boats that, coming from South America, transship narcotic substances in the middle of the Atlantic for their subsequent introduction into the European continent.
And it is that the interception of the ‘Orion V’ has been carried out just six days after the one carried out on January 18, when the freighter ‘Blume’ intervened, with very similar characteristics –both with about 100 meters in length– and 4,500 kilos of cocaine on board, so that together there are nine tons of drugs seized in this short period of time.
Between these two interventions against drug trafficking, the Ministry of the Interior reported this Tuesday that the Spanish Police and the Customs Surveillance Service had intercepted, on December 5, 2022, a sailboat that was heading to the Canary Islands loaded with a cache of 2,500 kilos. of cocaine and detained its four crew members, three Colombian citizens and one French citizen, who have entered pretrial detention on charges of drug trafficking. EFE