Massive drugs haul in Algarve

A combined international operation by police has resulted in the seizure of cocaine worth around €10 million from a sailing yacht that had moored at Praia Grande in Ferragudo awaiting contacts to transport and market the drugs in Spain.

The Portimão PJ and maritime police along with the Spanish Guardia Civil found 260 packages of cocaine weighing 287 kilos on board the Danish-registered vessel which was concealed in a water tank at the front of the craft.

Five foreigners, aged between 38 and 55, of American, Colombian and Spanish nationality were arrested during the operation codenamed Operacão Relâmpago.

The sting happened after the drug squad (Unidade Nacional de Combate ao Tráfico de Estupefacientes) was alerted to the fact that the yacht was approaching Algarve waters and intended to link with a widespread drug network to transport the cocaine to Spain.

Two vehicles intended to transport the drugs to Spain were confiscated by the police.

A PJ spokesman, José Ferreira, said: “This case is a good example of international co-operation to stamp out this kind of international drug crime.” He emphasised that nobody of Portuguese nationality was involved in the crime.

Juan Alamo from the Spanish Guardia Civil said the group of Colombian origin began its drug dealing operations in the Madrid area.