Police seized more than a tonne of cocaine equivalent to $49 million and arrested seven people aboard a Brazilian fishing boat in a seizure of drugs in the Portuguese seas supported by international crime agencies, market.
Portuguese police found 50 bags of cocaine-containing tissue apparently destined for the European mainland market in a specially designed and difficult-to-access compartment of the fishing vessel, a police statement said. The arrested suspects were all foreigners between the ages of 36 and 64, he added.
Entitled “Areia Branca,” the anti-drug operation began after an exchange of information between Brazilian and Portuguese authorities and was assisted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the British National Crime Agency.
In December, a study by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, a European agency based in Lisbon, found that new gangs were moving into Europe’s cocaine markets by establishing smuggling networks linking Latin American producers directly to European consumers.
Global cocaine production hit a record high of 1,410 tonnes in 2016, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.