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Vessel made a stop at the Santista quay before continuing on to Europe; PF investigates whether suspects were used as ‘mule’.
SOROCABA – The Federal Police arrested 16 passengers of the Costa Favolosa tourist ship carrying 300 kilos of cocaine in their luggage, on Wednesday, 27, in Santos , on the coast of São Paulo. The boat made a stop at the Santos quay before continuing on to Europe . Ten Brazilians, three Belgians and three French, eight women and eight men, all young people under 30, were arrested.
The PF investigates whether the suspects were used as “mules” – hired only for transport – or are part of an international narcotics trafficking organization. None of them had a criminal record.
The high purity drug was discovered by the ship’s security officers during an electronic inspection of the baggage cleared by the suspects. In addition to cocaine, each bag contained about $ 1,000, which could be an advance for the transportation of the drug.
Triggered, a PF team boarded and arrested the suspects. They were taken to the Federal Police station at the passenger terminal and, after being charged, they proceeded to the Provisional Detention Center (CDP) of São Vicente. Earlier in the evening, the ship was given permission to travel. The Costa Favolosa would still pass through other Brazilian ports before continuing to destinations in Spain and Italy.
In a statement, Costa Cruzeiros, the company responsible for the ship, said that the seizure of the drug occurred “during the routine control activities carried out by security agents on the Costa Favolosa vessel while docked at the Port of Santos .” According to the company, according to the protocols, the incident was immediately reported to the federal and local authorities. “The investigation is ongoing, so the company can not give more details, but the ship’s command continues to provide complete assistance,” he said.
Source: Sao-Paulo Estadao