An annual report released by the PJ police of Portugal has shown the Algarve to be the region of Portugal, outside the principal cities, with the highest incidence of drug arrests.
Additionally, more cannabis was seized in the Algarve than anywhere else in country, accounting for over half of the total seized in Portugal.
In Combating the trafficking of drugs in Portugal, which details drug arrests in 2009, the district of Faro registered fourth for drugs seizures, with Lisbon first, followed by Porto and then Setúbal.
During 2009 there were more than 5,000 grammes of heroin, over 17,500 grammes of cocaine and almost 17 million grammes of cannabis seized in the region.
Cannabis was shown to be the drug most seized by police in the region, with the figures including apprehensions made not only by the PJ police but also by the GNR and PSP police, the maritime police and the border control agency SEF.
Incidents of note in the Algarve by the PJ included three separate seizures of heroin in the municipality of Silves in August 2009 amounting to nearly 1,300 grammes in total, 2.9 million grammes of cannabis in Tavira in February and 4.66 million grammes of cannabis in Armação de Pêra in June.
On a national level almost 3,000 people were arrested by law enforcement authorities for drug trafficking and trafficking with consumption.
The majority of arrests were of Portuguese nationalities but there were 19 British citizens, 20 Germans, 28 French and 12 Dutch included in this total.
Meanwhile, 3.5 tonnes of hashish were seized by police in Vila do Bispo on October 19 and two Spanish men were arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking. Police are still looking for a further two assailants and the case continues to be investigated.
On the same day, police in Portimão seized around 60 doses of cannabis after five homes and three vehicles in the city were searched leading to the arrests of three men. Investigations into this case are also still being conducted.