Hashish-laden fishing boat spotted by regular Air Force patrol
A 53-year-old Spanish citizen and a 22-year-old Moroccan have been arrested during a dawn raid on their fishing boat as it transported 56 bales of hashish towards the Algarve.
Portugal’s Judicial Police, Air Force, Coastal Control Unit of the GNR and the Maritime Police, were involved in a coordinated operation to intercept the vessel off Manta Rota beach, Vila Real de Santo António.
The suspicious fishing boat, making the schoolboy error of displaying no fishing equipment, was making its way towards the Algarve in the dark. On board was 56 bales of hashish, a total weight of 1,600 kgs.
The fishing vessel now is docked at the wharf in Vila Real de Santo António while the port captain tried to establish its provenance, allegedly it is registered in Huelva.
The vessel was spotted by a regular Air Force patrol at around 17:00 on Thursday afternoon, January 18th, 30 miles to the south of Faro as it made its way to Portugal.
Despite looking like a fishing boat, “there was no fishing gear visible,” said the Air Force spokesman.
The Air Force patrol reported the suspicious vessel to the Olhão GNR’s Coastal Control Unit whose men made preparations with their Maritime Police colleagues to intercept the vessel while tracking its progress by radar.
The vessel was boarded by the Maritime Police at 01:30 am on Friday morning, surprising the two men who, sensibly, offered no resistance.
Luís Mota Carmo from the Judicial Police in Faro speculated, rather unhelpfully, that the course being charted by the Spanish vessel indicated to him that the drugs were to be unloaded on the island of ??Armona.