Police find massive cocaine shipment on yacht off the Canaries
Agents of the National Police, in a joint operation with the Civil Guard and the Tax Agency, have seized off the coast of the Canary Islands more than 1,200 kilograms of cocaine hidden on a sailboat.
The interception of the vessel took place on the morning of the 20th in international waters, some 600 miles west of the Canary Islands, when the crew of the Customs Surveillance patrol of the Tax Agency ‘Petrel I’, based in Vigo, boarded the sailboat, named ‘Memo’.
Investigators located on the boat an important shipment of cocaine from South America, presumably destined for the Iberian Peninsula, and detained its two crew members, of Spanish and Italian nationality, who did not resist. The patrol vessel ‘Petrel I’ was in the intervention zone participating in a joint international maritime operation by the Spanish and French customs, called operation ‘Pascal-Lino’ in honor of two deceased customs officials from both countries.
The boarding operation was developed within the framework of international police cooperation between the National Police, Customs Surveillance of the Tax Agency and the Civil Guard, in collaboration with the British NCA, all under the coordination carried out by the Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Centre and Organised Crime (CITCO) and MAOC-N (Centre for Analysis and Maritime Operations on Drug Trafficking). Thanks to this international cooperation, it was possible to locate the vessel, which was initially unknown, and proceeded to intercept it.
The sailboat sailed without a known flag of any State. After consulting the vessel’s alleged nationalities with UK and German authorities, who were unable to confirm her flag, she is considered a vessel without nationality.
The sailboat, along with the seized drug and the two detained crew members, has been transferred to the Port of Las Palmas. The joint investigation carried out by the National Police, Civil Guard and Customs Surveillance of the Tax Agency remains open to identify the criminal group that is the recipient of the narcotic substance, and is being directed by the Special Anti-Drug Prosecutor’s Office and by the head of the Central Investigation Court nº2 of the National Court.