Spain seizes nearly one tonne of cocaine from yacht

17th November 2014, Comments 0 comments

Spanish authorities seized nearly one tonne of cocaine from an unregistered yacht off the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, officials said Monday in the second large seizure of drugs near the archipelago this month.

A Spanish customs ship intercepted the yacht on Sunday some 200 nautical miles south of the Spanish holiday island of Gran Canaria, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Customs agents and police seized nearly 950 kilogrammes (2,100 pounds) of cocaine found aboard the boat and detained the ship's three crew members -- two Ukrainians and a Serb, the statement added.

The arrests "confirm the involvement of criminal groups in the transportation of cocaine from South America to Europe," it said.

The ship, the Liberty Belle, was formerly registered in the British Virgin Islands but was currently not registered in any country, the finance ministry said in a separate statement.

Britain's National Crime Agency and an EU anti-narcotics unit, the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre-Narcotics based in Lisbon, took part in the operation, the statement added.

Spanish police on November 6 seized nearly 600 kilos of cocaine from a Czech-registered sailing boat about 450 nautical miles southwest of Spain's Canary Islands and arrested its four crew members, all Czech.

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

The amount of cocaine seized in Spain rose 28.

6 percent last year to 27 tonnes, according to interior ministry figures.


© 2014 AFP

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