One of the images from today's PJ police statement

14 high-speed ‘narco boats’ seized

Portuguese and Spanish police swoop on Viana do Castelo boat builders

14 super-fast narco boats worth millions of euros have been seized after police moved in on boat building concerns close to the Galician border.

As Expresso revealed earlier this month, suspicions that Spanish drug traffickers were using Portuguese companies to build their speedboats have been hampered by ‘lack of proof’. This development presumably means authorities now have that proof.

A statement issued today by the PJ says that Braga’s Department of Criminal Investigation acted in collaboration with Spanish authorities (Guardia Civil, Policía Nacional and DAVA – coastguard authority) “undertaking searches in two boat building businesses in the Viana do Castelo district.

“The speedboats were in various stages of construction. Suspicions are that these were destined to be used in the trafficking of drugs by sea”.

The value of the haul, put at ‘several million euros-worth’ – and including engines and sundry narco-boat construction equipment – “shows the capacity for investment and logistics of this criminal organisation”, said the statement.

The investigation continues, in the hands of Spanish authorities.

As Expresso stressed in its exposé, Spain has outlawed the construction of boats of this kind (specifically to combat their use by traffickers), but Portugal has still to bring in the necessary legislation, which is why trafficking gangs, particularly from Galicia, have moved boat-building operations to Portugal.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com