Spanish Police Seizes Over Two Tons Of Cocaine From Ship

Spanish police seized more than two tons of cocaine from a ship with a Venezuelan flag in the Atlantic Ocean and arrested the seven crew members, Spain’s interior ministry said on Monday.

The operation, carried out alongside the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the UK’s National Crime Agency and Portuguese police, took place earlier this month, on May 4.

The seven people on board were Venezuelan nationals, the ministry said, adding that a gun had also been seized alongside 2,400 kg of cocaine. The vessel, a small, rusted fishing boat according to images distributed by police, has since been towed to Spain’s Canary Islands.

Separately, a shipment of 5.5 tons of cocaine destined for Spain was intercepted off the coast of Ecuador, and 24 people were arrested in that operation, the interior ministry also said on Monday.

“Today is an important day, a day of congratulations for the national police along with Spanish Customs who managed to detain a Venezuelan fishing ship with 2,400 kilograms of cocaine. I just want to mark the important job that the Spanish police has done, in this case with a previous labour of information in coordination with the U.S.,” Spanish Government’s Canary Islands Delegate, Mercedes Roldos, said.

“DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), with the Portuguese police and the British police, which have made the successful arrest of this fishing ship from Venezuela, the detention of seven people and the seizure of a very significant amount of cocaine.”

Nigerian drug cartel busted in Spain, 15 arrested

A Nigerian drug cartel responsible for smuggling of cocaine and other drugs into Spain and other European countries from the Latinos and Africa has reportedly been busted by Spanish police officials with 15 members arrested.

The group, based in the Madrid suburb of Alcala de Henares, use drug mules who injest pellets filled with drugs and avoid detection at airports, the police said in a statement.

Police seized about 18 pounds of cocaine and 17,000 euros in cash as part of their investigation, which began in September 2011.

The majority of those arrested were Nigerian citizens.

Police carried out their first arrest as part of the operation in October 2011 at the airport at Palma de Majorca of a man who had swallowed 77 pellets of cocaine.

Later that month police detained another man at the same airport who had swallowed 68 pellets of cocaine.

“These people had been sent by the organisation to Madrid to collect cocaine from other members of the ring which based in Alcala de Henares. From there they would also send mules to South America and Africa to collect the drug,” a police statement said.

Spain’s proximity to North Africa, a key source of hashish, and its close ties with its former colonies in Latin America, a major cocaine producing region, have made it a major gateway into Europe for drug traffickers.