Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 December 2019

Watch: police pull tons of cocaine from Europe’s first narco-sub

Divers refloated the 20-metre sub after it was abandoned by the smugglers near the Spanish coast

European authorities have recovered 3 metric tonnes of cocaine hidden on a homemade fibreglass submarine off the Spanish coast after an operation to track the vessel on a thousands-of-kilometre journey across the Atlantic.

While the police managed to stop the vessel over the weekend, the sunken craft was only re-floated this week after divers were able to swim down and carry out the operation.

Spanish authorities apprehended the homemade craft last Saturday before it could offload the drugs to another vessel. Two Ecuador nationals were arrested. A third is at large.

Police said using submarines to smuggle cocaine is “very common” in the United States but this is the first known time such a vessel has been used in Europe.

The 20-metre-long submarine was escorted into the port of Aldan and searched by police who found 152 bales of cocaine weighing three tonnes.

The bust was made after an international operation involving police from Spain, Portugal, the US, the UK and Brazil tracked the fibreglass vessel across the Atlantic.

Tom Dowdall, Deputy Director International at the UK’s National Crime Agency, said, “seizures like this are vital in disrupting and dismantling transnational crime groups trafficking deadly drugs, and ultimately protecting the public from the damage they cause”.

He said that the drugs could have ended up on the UK’s streets, “fuelling serious violence and impacting on the most vulnerable members of society”.

The NCA said that an investigation is ongoing to find out who shipped the drugs and who the intended buyers were.

Updated: November 28, 2019 11:39 AM

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