Police shut down illegal speedboat factory in Faro
Police in the Algarve have shut down an illegal speedboat factory in Faro.
Authorities believe that the speedboats that were being built in the huge warehouse were exported in trucks to Spain, as it would have been “too risky” for them to release them into the water in Portugal without being detected.
The operation took place last Friday (January 31) and was led by the region’s PJ police with the help of Maritime and GNR police.
Four Spanish men were caught red-handed working at the factory and were identified, although their “criminal responsibility” will still be investigated. PJ police have already contacted authorities in Spain to determine if the men have any record of criminal activity.
Police forces also confiscated three speedboats that were under construction – one of which was “practically complete”.
“We believe the speedboats would leave here in trucks and would then be released into the water outside of Portugal,” regional PJ police chief António Madureira told reporters, adding that authorities were surprised by the boats’ high-quality.
The factory was located in a warehouse in the area of Bom João in Faro.
Although authorities found no evidence that these boats were used for drug trafficking, there were signs that they were being prepared for some kind of illegal activity.
Police were also suspicious of the fact that they did not have serial numbers and were similar to others that authorities have already confiscated along the Portuguese coast.
This is the first time that authorities dismantle a factory of this kind – which operated in total secrecy and without any licences – in the Algarve.
Maritime police commander Fernando Rocha Pacheco explained that this type of speedboats is commonly used by drug traffickers as they can transport up to three tons of drugs at the speed of 100kms per hour.
For example, a speedboat travelling between Morocco and the Algarve would take “six to seven hours”.
Credit to Bruno Filipe Pires of the Barlavento newspaper.