A fishing boat loaded with three tons of cocaine intercepted in the south of the Canary Islands : The Canaries


Hidden along the route of the sub-Saharan fishing grounds

An air and sea operation, set up by the Deputy Directorate of Customs Surveillance of the Tax Administration, made it possible to locate and embark the fishing boat by the patrol boat “Cóndor”, which was heading north, camouflaged among the usual fishing boats that sail near the sub-Saharan fishing grounds. At the time of boarding, the fishing boat was found to be carrying a significant number of packages of the type usually used for cocaine trafficking, so the five crew members, four of Turkish nationality and one Georgian citizen, were immediately arrested.

Complex boarding and navigation conditions

Sailing and boarding conditions were very complicated, due to poor sea conditions, with sustained and strong northerly winds exceeding 40 knots and gusts up to 60. Despite these difficulties, the fast performance of the ” Cóndor” and his crew prevented any possible transshipment of the narcotics to other ships, which would have compromised the detection of the illicit cargo.

During the subsequent transfer to the port, it was necessary to alert the Salvamento Maritimo (maritime rescue) due to fears of a machine breakdown on the fishing boat, which was described as “substandard” (which means that it does not meet basic international standards of safety and navigation) due to an engine in very poor condition, to the point that it was feared that a fire could break out on board, resulting in the need for a technical stopover at the southernmost port of Arguineguín (Gran Canaria) to check the condition of the ship before finally heading up to Las Palmas, in the north of the island.

The ‘Capirote’ operation is the first arrest made by the ‘Cóndor’ patrol boat in just one month since its commissioning in the Canary Islands. This modern and fast 43-meter patrol boat with a crew of 14 was assigned on March 15 to the Customs Surveillance Unit of the Canary Islands to reinforce strategic operations against drug trafficking in the Atlantic and the points of key entry such as the archipelago of the Canary Islands.

The detainees, the boat, the narcotics and the police pursuits will all be placed at the disposal of the Central Court of Instruction, acting under the aegis of the Audiencia Nacional, the first procedure to have been so carried out by the Courts of instruction. in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

This operation is the result of the efforts of the Spanish Customs Agency (Aduanas) and state security forces working with various official agencies in the prevention of drug trafficking along the so-called “African route”. , known to be used by fishing vessels that receive narcotic substances in the middle of the Atlantic for their subsequent introduction to the European continent, using the African coastal route to go unnoticed among the incessant fishing traffic throughout the area


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