Agents of the Spanish National Police, in a joint operation with the Customs Surveillance Service of the Tax Agency, intercepted the cargo ship named ‘Orión V’ 62 miles southwest of the Canary Islands, inside which four tons and average (4,500 kilos) of cocaine.
After the interception of the ship, coming from Colombia carrying 3,400 cows, by the Special Operations Ship ‘Fulmar’ of the Customs Surveillance Service of the Tax Agency, its 28 crew members, of nine different nationalities, were arrested. reported the Spanish Police.
The cargo ship, with the Togolese flag and similar dimensions to the ‘Blume’ boarded in the middle of this month, also in waters near the Canary Islands, was transporting cattle from Colombia to the Middle East.
The American DEA, the Atlantic Analysis and Operations Center (MAOC-N) and the Intelligence Center Against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO), as well as the Togolese authorities, collaborated in the operation.
The investigation began as a result of the investigations carried out jointly by the National Police and the Customs Surveillance Service, which determined the possible involvement of a vessel suspected of illicit drug trafficking from South America.
Since 2020, the National Police and the Customs Surveillance Service have been monitoring this vessel ORION V (ex SPIRIDON), suspected of being used to transport large amounts of drugs. The drug was loaded in port, or transferred to them on the high seas.
This vessel was already analyzed within the framework of an investigation carried out by the Central Narcotics Brigade and the Customs Surveillance Service of the Tax Agency in which the “Santorum” brothers, in charge of receiving and introducing large amounts of cocaine. Despite having been subjected to control and search on that occasion, drugs could not be found inside, although there were sufficient indications that confirmed that it was a boat that transported drugs with the excuse of transporting cattle -to countries like Libya, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Curaçao, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Macao, Kuwait and Qatar-, offering products from livestock treated and handled under adequate conditions for international trade.
Finally, the Deputy Directorate of Customs Surveillance established an aeronautical device that allowed the ship ‘Fulmar’ to locate and board the freighter on the afternoon of January 24.
After inspecting the common areas of the merchant, the presence of an undetermined number of bales of those usually used for cocaine trafficking was detected in a feed silo. For this reason, the 28 crew members of the boat were arrested: ten Tanzanian citizens, five Syrians, four Kenyans, two Ecuadorians, two Panamanians, two Colombians, one Dominican, one Nepali and one Nicaraguan, as well as the apprehension of the ship for transfer to the port of Las Palmas. The operation has been directed and coordinated by the Anti-Drug Prosecutor of the National Court.
Both the detainees, the boat, the drugs and the police proceedings will be turned over to the Central Investigating Court acting as Guard of the National Court.
This operation is one more of those carried out in the fight against drug trafficking on the so-called ‘Atlantic Route’ of cocaine used by merchants and fishing boats from South America, which transship the narcotic substances in the middle of the Atlantic for their subsequent introduction into the European continent.
The interception of the ‘Orion V’ was carried out just six days after the one carried out on January 18, when the freighter ‘Blume’ intervened, with very similar characteristics –both about 100 meters long– and 4,500 kilos in weight. cocaine on board The two operations carried out on these cargo ships have made it possible to seize nine tons of drugs in a short period of time. (With information from the Spanish National Police).