Joint operation of the Tax Agency and the National Police, with the collaboration of the Spanish Navy
- Dismantled the most important drug transport organization in Galicia that, formed by experienced boatmen and well-known traffickers, offered its service to drug organizations to collect cocaine at sea
- The drugs were travelling on board a Togo-flagged ship with a crew of 15, all of whom were arrested, and were boarded by agents more than 300 miles off the Galician coast
- The current state of alarm has not led to a cessation of police activity, and the fight against various forms of crime, such as large-scale drug trafficking, is ongoing
April 28, 2020 - Customs surveillance by the Tax Agency and the National Police, in a joint operation, have dealt a new blow to drug trafficking in Galicia with the arrest of 28 people - 15 crew members and 13 people on land - and the seizure of some 4,000 kilos of cocaine.
The operation has made it possible to dismantle the most important drug transport organization in Galicia, which, made up of experienced boatmen and well-known traffickers, was at the service of the most important drug trafficking structures, both nationally and internationally, and was allegedly required to collect cocaine at sea when it was needed.
The investigation has been coordinated by the Anti-Drug Prosecutor's Office of Pontevedra and directed by the Examining Court number 3 of Vigo, with the collaboration of the Spanish Navy, the American Anti-Drug Agency -DEA-, the British National Crime Agency -NCA- and the Colombian Police -DIRAN-.
The drugs were seized on board a ship flying the Togolese flag, which was boarded more than 300 miles off the Galician coast. The Spanish Navy and its vessel 'Tornado', based in the Canary Islands, collaborated in the interception of the ship, on which a dozen officials and agents of the Tax Agency and the Special Operations Group (GEO) of the National Police embarked.
The most important organization of drug transporters in Galicia
The investigation began six months ago around a group of experienced boatmen and known traffickers who were allegedly offering themselves to the various drug trafficking structures to collect cocaine at sea. The group under investigation had a large number of boats and engines, which they kept in secure warehouses distributed between the north of Portugal and different towns in Pontevedra.
After several steps, the investigators detected that the investigated group was finalizing certain details, such as the construction of boats and small fishing boats or the collection of fuel and supplies. It was also found that they were constantly moving fast boats to hide them in the vessels off the Galician coast, which warned that they were in the last stage of preparation before carrying out a drug trafficking operation.
Devices at sea and on land
At that time, investigators focused on locating the mother ship carrying the drugs, a task that had the exceptional collaboration of the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the British National Crime Agency (NCEA) and the Colombian Police (DIRAN).
After various actions, a ship flying the Togolese flag was detected, which allegedly loaded the drugs at the beginning of the month and had been travelling for about 20 days. Finally, last weekend the ship was intercepted at about 200 miles from the coast of Galicia, achieving the seizure of about 4,000 kilos of cocaine and the arrest of its 15 crew members - from Bangladesh and Nepal, with the presence also on board of a Galician citizen. Later, and thanks to the collaboration of the Spanish Navy, the ship was escorted until its arrival today at the Port of Vigo.
Simultaneously, a device was carried out on land that culminated in the arrest of 13 people in Galicia, several of them with numerous records for drug trafficking. There were 21 entries and searches and five speedboats and numerous vehicles were searched.
The operation remains open and further arrests are not ruled out.
Filming of the operation (to download the video you must enter the following web address):
- Publication date
- 4 May 2020
- European Anti-Fraud Office
- News type
- Partner's press release