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Spanish authorities seize $260M worth of cocaine in the Atlantic

October 11, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Spanish authorities seize $260M worth of cocaine in the Atlantic JammedUp Compilation Photo via NAtional Crime Agency

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Spanish authorities busted a marine support vessel in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean while traveling to Europe from South America, carrying four tons of cocaine.

Seven Turkish and Azerbaijani crewmen have been arrested in connection with the seizure, which was worth US$260 million.

Spanish officials, acting on intel received from Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA), stopped a marine support vessel, Thoran, on October 1st, in international waters between the Azores and Madeira, and found four tons of cocaine, worth USD 260 million.

According to Britain’s National Crime Agency, the vessel was taken to the Spanish port of Cadiz where it arrived on October 6th, and when it was unloaded and weighed. The drugs weighed approximately 3,700 kilos.

Seven crew members, who were from Turkey and Azerbaijan, were taken into custody and are awaiting trial.

The drugs, which were enclosed in 165 waterproof packages, had been concealed in an elaborate compartment under the floor of the ship’s kitchen.

The NCA noted that they were not sure where the boat was going, but they believe it was somewhere in Europe.

The Thoran, which had the flag of the Comoro Islands — a common maritime flag of convenience — had been detected making an unexpected maneuver off the coast of South America.

On September 15th, it was seen off the coast of Suriname, and it is believed that was where the drugs were loaded on board.

The interception was a joint effort between the NCA, Spanish Customs, the Spanish National Police and the Guardia Civil, and was managed from a control room in Lisbon.

“Seizing this quantity of cocaine represents a disruption to international crime groups, depriving them of revenue running into the hundreds of millions of pounds,” Mark Blackwell, from the NCA, stated.

“We’re working with colleagues to disrupt organized criminals in any way, and to protect the UK and European borders from attempts to smuggle illegal commodities through them,” he noted.

In 2016-2017, the NCA was involved in the confiscation of 79.3 tons of cocaine.

In May, Spanish officials tipped off their colleagues in Ecuador, who busted a ship carrying 5.5 tons traveling to Spain.

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