The National Police in Spain, in a joint operation with the United States DEA, seized 2,300 kilos of cocaine from a fishing boat off the coast of Vigo (Galicia region), in northwestern Spain. The four crew members of the boat have been arrested, as well as a fifth suspect who would receive and transport the drugs. According to Spanish authorities, the suspects belong to the so-called “Balkan Cartel”.
The investigation began when Spanish police tracked down several suspects who planned to use Spain as an entry point for cocaine and subsequent distribution throughout Europe. After several attempts, it turned out that they had prepared a cocaine shipment from Latin America via large container ships, where they transported the drugs to later be transferred to smaller ships departing from local ports.
Investigations by the National Police in Spain with the United States DEA identified several suspects allegedly responsible for receiving the drugs. In addition, it was learned that a new shipment could arrive off the coast of Vigo.
On Monday, September 11, the Guardia Civil discovered a suspicious fishing boat 64 kilometers off the coast of Vigo that was stopped. The fishing boat, based in Ferrol, failed to stop despite multiple warnings, prompting police and naval personnel to board it. After a safety inspection, officers discovered that the suspects were carrying a large number of bales on the deck, which had been weighted and tied together. The four crew members were then arrested and the fishing boat was sailed to the port of Vigo.
One of the people responsible for receiving and transporting the drugs to a safe location was then identified. With no news of the fishing boat, he fled from Galicia to Madrid, where he was eventually located and arrested in a hotel.
Almost 200,000 euros in cash and a luxury vehicle were seized during the search of two houses in A Coruña.