Portugal seizes tons of cocaine hidden in banana shipments

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Police in Portugal said Thursday they found just over 8 metric tons (8.8 short tons) of cocaine concealed inside banana shipments from Colombia.

The cocaine was hidden in the hold of three cargo ships that docked in Setubal, a port about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, police said.

The ships made regular Atlantic crossings, and the cocaine was destined for several European countries, according to police.

The seizure happened in recent weeks, police said, but a statement gave no specific date.

Though large cocaine seizures aren’t uncommon in Portugal, or the rest of Europe, police said it was one of the largest ever in the country. The drugs have an estimated local street value of more than 300 million euros (USD $315 million).

Europe is currently the biggest world market for cocaine, the statement said.

So far this year, police in Portugal have captured just over 12 metric tons of cocaine — an increase of almost 23 percent on the total for the whole of last year.

The European Union police agency Europol and other European police forces cooperated in the operation.

Meanwhile, police in northern Portugal said they worked with the Guardia Civil in neighbouring Spain to break up an alleged criminal ring building powerful speedboats for Spanish gangs.

The boats are used to bring drugs, usually hashish, from Morocco into Spain and Portugal. Spain banned the boats four years ago in an effort to crack down on the smuggling.

Portuguese police seized 21 speedboats in different stages of construction, while Spanish police made 72 arrests in Spain, a statement said.

Also Thursday, police in southern Spain said they broke up a drug-smuggling ring and seized 1.2 metric tons (1.3 short tons) of hashish hidden in a factory warehouse.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login

HOUSE RULES

  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy