Police seize drugs after smugglers call coast guard for help

30th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spanish police have seized one tonne of hashish from a group of smugglers who called the coast guard for help after their boat broke and detained eight people as part of the operation, they said Tuesday.

The boat carrying the hashish hidden in false bottoms started to drift when it was about 20 nautical miles off the coast of the southeastern province of Murcia after its motor broke down, police said in a statement.

"At this moment the three drug traffickers who were on board called the coast guard and they were towed to the port of Cartagena," it said.

Police then detained the three people on board the boat as well as two others who were waiting who were waiting for them in a vehicle to transport the drugs.

Another three people were later arrested because of their suspected links to to the smuggling operation -- two in Alicante and one on Cartagena.

Police said the boat with the drugs was already under surveillance before the smugglers called the coast guard for help and swooped in after they realised there was a car waiting to unload drugs from the vessel.

They said began their investigation in February after becoming aware that a group was smuggling hashish from Morocco into Spain by boat.

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.

© 2011 AFP

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