In a joint operation executed by the Spanish authorities, namely the National Police, Guardia Civil and Customs (DAVA), the 19-metre fishing vessel MESTRE DOCA I, Brazilian flagged, was intercepted 230 nautical miles north of the Canary Islands, carrying 560 kilograms of cocaine.
Following international cooperation and the exchange of information between MAOC-N and CITCO (Spanish Centre for Intelligence against Terrorism and Organised Crime), the authorities became aware of a fishing vessel would be sailing towards Europe loaded with cocaine.
The Spanish Customs Surveillance Unit’s special operations vessel, FULMAR, was able to board the vessel despite the rough sea state and seize the illicit cargo, with an estimated value of 30 million euros.
The fishing vessel, upon detecting the presence of the Customs Surveillance vessel, attempted to evade the authorities, further raising suspicion that the vessel was involved in an illicit activity.
The vessel and crew, comprised of six Brazilians and one French national, were arrested and transferred to the competent authorities in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) following the interception.
Investigations suggest that the drugs would have been transferred from the fishing vessel to another vessel that would be responsible for delivering the illegal load to Europe.