Five people were arrested Wednesday in a fishing boat seized 555 kilometers south of the Canary Islands in an operation of the National Police, the Civil Guard and the Tax Agency. The detainees are the crew members of the fishing boat ‘AKT 1’, 20 meters long, which carried 2,900 kilos of cocaine hidden in one of their fuel tanks. The drug would have a market value of about 90 million eurosas sources of the investigation have pointed out to EFE.
The Superior Police Headquarters of the Canary Islands has detailed in a statement that the approach was carried out with the new patrol car ‘Cóndor’ of the Customs Surveillance Service of the Tax Agencywithin the framework of an international action called ‘Capirote-Pytheas-Pincushion’ and coordinated by the Anti-Drug Prosecutor of the National High Court.
The action is the result of international collaboration through the exchange of information between the MAOC-N (Atlantic Analysis and Operations Center) and the CITCO (Intelligence Center Against Terrorism and Organized Crime).
Based on this initial information, investigators from the National Police, the Civil Guard and the Customs Surveillance Service determined the possible involvement of a vessel suspected of illicit drug trafficking from South America.
As a consequence of this, the Deputy Directorate of Customs Surveillance of the Tax Agency established the aeronaval device that resulted in the location and boarding of the fishing boat by the patrol boat ‘Cóndor’, when it was sailing north pretending to camouflage among the usual fishing that take this navigation route close to the sub-Saharan fishing ground.
At the time of the boarding it was found that the fishing transported a significant number of bundles of those usually used for cocaine trafficking, Therefore, the five crew members of the boat were immediately arrested, four of Turkish nationality and one Georgian citizen.
The navigation and boarding conditions were very complicateddue to the bad situation of the sea, with strong northerly winds of more than 40 knots and gusts of up to 60. Despite these difficulties, the rapid action of the ship ‘Cóndor’ and its crew prevented the occurrence of the possible transfer of drugs to other vessels, which would have compromised the detection of the stash.
During the subsequent transfer to port it was even necessary alert Maritime Rescue in anticipation of a machine failure of the fishing boata ‘substandard’ ship (ships that do not meet basic international safety and navigation standards) whose engine was in poor condition, to the point that a fire on board was feared, which led to a technical stop in the port of Arguineguín (south of Gran Canaria) to check the status of the fishing vessel before finally heading to Las Palmas, where it docked this Saturday.
First apprehension of the patrol boat ‘Cóndor’
This is the first apprehension carried out by the patrol boat ‘Cóndor’ when hardly a month has passed since its commissioning in the Canary Islands, emphasizes the Police. This modern patrol boat, 43 meters long and with a crew of 14, was assigned to the Canary Islands Customs Surveillance Operational Area on March 15 to strengthen surveillance of such a strategic point for the fight against drug trafficking in the Atlantic, such as the Canary archipelago.
Both the detainees and the boat, the drug and the police proceedings will be disposition of the Central Court of Instruction in functions of Guard of the National High Courtbeing carried out the first proceedings by the Investigating Court in functions of the Guard of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The Police stress that this operation once again demonstrates the results of the efforts of the Tax Agency and the State Security Forces and Bodies in the fight against drug trafficking in the so-called Cocaine’s ‘African route’known to be used by vessels that receive narcotic substances in the middle of the Atlantic for its subsequent introduction into the European continent, using the African coast route to go unnoticed among the incessant fishing traffic in the area.