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Principale » Spain, Ecuador net 5.5 metric tons of cocaine in Pacific

Spain, Ecuador net 5.5 metric tons of cocaine in Pacific

15 Mai 2017

Spanish authorities say they cooperated with Ecuadorean police to intercept a ship off that Latin American country bringing more than 5.5 metric tons of cocaine to Spain.

The other 20, including one Spaniard, were arrested on board the cargo ship by Ecuadorian police, who intercepted it before its planned passage through the Panama Canal on its way to Spain, the interior ministry said.

Spanish police captured nearly eight metric tonnes of cocaine from four vessels in 2015 and 2016 and arrested 80 people, the police statement said. The vessel, a small, rusted fishing boat according to images distributed by police, has since been towed to Spain's Canary Islands.

The operation, carried out alongside the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the UK's National Crime Agency and Portuguese police, took place earlier this month, on May 4.

The Interior Ministry says Ecuadorean agents boarded the freighter when it was nearly 3 nautical miles off the coast of Ecuador's Santa Elena province.

Spain's Interior Minister Juan Ignocio Zoido said to El Pais that the first operation resulted in the capture of 24 suspected drug traffickers.

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The shipment was believed to be organised by a drug-trafficking ring in northeastern Galicia.

The police operation began after Spain found out in January that a South American ring with links in Spain was organising a large shipment.

Spanish police captured nearly eight metric tons of cocaine from four vessels in 2015 and 2016 and arrested 80 people, the police statement said.

That information was corroborated by intelligence also gathered by the U.S., Britain and Portugal, the statement said.

Large seizures of cocaine and cannabis aren't uncommon in the Iberian Peninsula, which is seen as a drug gateway to Europe.