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yacht cocaine seizure

Cocaine seizure on yacht

2,700 kilos of cocaine seized on a yacht 700 miles southwest of Fuerteventura.

The National Police has dismantled a Balkan criminal organization with the intervention of 2.7 tons of cocaine in a sailboat on the high seas

New blow to international drug trafficking in nearby waters The National Police have carried out an operation together with the Serbian Police that, coordinated by EUROPOL and with the collaboration of the Spanish Navy and the Police of Portugal, Slovenia, Croatia, Brazil, Poland, France, the DEA of the United States and the MAOC-N (Maritime Analyst and Operations Centre Narcotics), has made it possible to dismantle a criminal organization of citizens of Balkan origin allegedly engaged in the introduction and distribution of cocaine in Europe from South America by sea. Specifically, they were intercepted transporting almost 2,700 kilograms of cocaine aboard a sailboat in international waters near the Canary Islands. The two crew members were arrested, and subsequently the leader and three other members of the organization in Serbia, with a total of six arrests.

The investigation began in early 2022 when, thanks to the collaboration between the Spanish and Serbian Police, under the coordination of EUROPOL, different information was received from the Slavic authorities pointing out that an important criminal organization in that country was preparing an operation to transport cocaine by sea.

The researchers detected that the members and the environment of the organization carried out constant displacements. In this way, they found out that the alleged leader traveled several times to Spain, using a false identity as a Croatian citizen trying to evade the international requirements that he was aware of.

Advanced investigations, it was possible to prove that in Croatia there were meetings of the organization with Latin American suppliers of the drug, and in Slovenia those who would later be the crew of the boat used to transport the drug were identified, in addition to confirming that several members of the organization traveled on several occasions to the Cape Verde archipelago and Latin American countries such as Colombia and Brazil.

Boarding at sea

In June of this year, it was possible to identify a sailboat of 22 meters in length that, a month later, sailed from Brazil and entered the Atlantic about 100 miles, at which time it is believed that it loaded the narcotic. Once it was certified that the vessel headed to Europe, the necessary mechanisms were activated through CITCO to be able to carry out the boarding of the same.

With all the information obtained, a GEO assault team, aboard a ship of the Spanish Navy, sailed from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and carried out the boarding of the sailboat during the early morning of August 24 about 700 miles west of the Canary Islands. After boarding, the two crew members of the ship were arrested and about 2,700 kilograms of cocaine were seized, which were transported in a total of 89 sports bags. Several state-of-the-art GPS devices and a phone with satellite coverage were also recovered.

After the operation, the boat was towed by the Spanish ship until due to its state it sank, showing how criminal organizations use boats of the so-called last trip, maximizing benefits since they are acquired for a lower price.

Subsequently, in a coordinated manner, the Police authorities of Serbia arrested the alleged leader and three other members of the Balkan criminal organization in the country, carrying out a total of 15 house searches and being seized 550,000 euros in cash, two high-end vehicles and several luxury watches. The investigation currently remains open and further arrests are not ruled out.
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