It was reported on 10th September 2014 that a joint investigation by the Judicial Police (Portugal) and Spanish National Police led to the seizure of 1,300 kilograms (1.3 metric tonnes) of cocaine in Portugal. The information obtained resulted in two operations in two days resulting in the seizure of 44 backpacks filled with drugs. So far nine members of the organization, including three in Portugal and six in Spain have been arrested. The aim was to smuggle the drugs into Spain for distribution later on.
The investigation commenced in late 2013 and since its inception the investigations have focused on the dismantling of an organization dedicated to trafficking large quantities of cocaine and hashish based in Huelva. The information obtained during investigation resulted in surveillance being undertaken on 7 September in the area of Altura near Vila Real San Antonio (Portugal), which was believed to be the staging point for the supply of a significant amount of cocaine to Spain.
At noon, the officers noticed the arrival of three vehicles with one occupant each. After parking the vehicles in a warehouse, police proceeded to identify and search the vehicles, finding in two of them a total of 20 blocks with five bags of cocaine with a weight of 600 kilos. The three subjects were immediately arrested in the warehouse car park for drug trafficking.
As a result of further investigations 24 similar backpacks deposited in an abandoned quarry near Faro, loaded with 700 kilograms of cocaine were also located. After this, six other members of the gang were arrested in Spain in Huelva and Seville.
The investigations was carried out by agents of the Narcotics Group of the police in Cartagena and UDYCO of Huelva Provincial Police in conjunction with the Judicial Police in Faro (Portugal).
The value of the drugs is estimated at €80 million.
Dr Luis Mota Carmo, Director of the Judical Police Portugal South stated “This network had its headquarters in Spain and that the arrests were a massive blow to the criminal organization”.
This is a massive seizure of cocaine by European standards one of the largest being in the UK in 2011 where 1.2 tons was found hidden on a boat with a street value in the UK of £300 million.
Interestingly one of the world’s largest seizures of cocaine took place on 1st September in Peru (the largest supplier of cocaine) where 8.5 tons was seized. According to police this was destined to Spain and Belgium.