Posted on April 02, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
12 people have been arrested in Madeira, as part of an investigation into drug smuggling onboard the Panama-flagged Cruise Ship, MSC Opera.
The six men and six women who have been charged with drug smuggling were detained when the cruise ship arrived at the port of Funchal, Portugal.
Portuguese authorities, assisted by members of Britain’s National Crime Agency, boarded the vessel and confiscated approximately 18 kilos of cocaine, that had been stashed in ceramic bowls and crisp packets.
The street value of the drugs in question is in excess of £2 mil.
“We believe this operation will have seriously disrupted an organised crime group looking to traffic cocaine into the UK and Europe.
“Working with our Portuguese colleagues we have been able to act on intelligence at speed and prevent this quantity of drugs from reaching its final destination.
“Once in the UK we know cocaine generates huge profits for criminal networks who are also involved in street violence and exploitation, so stopping it will help reduce the harm caused by them,” said Allan Round, NCA Operations Manager, in a statement to the press
The 12 smugglers are aged between 20 and 52 and include two UK citizens as well as a Dutch national that had been living in London.
They all arrived on Madeira from the UK and were supposed to travel to various locations in Europe, presumably to distribute the drugs.
The smugglers have all been detained and they ‘re pending prosecution in the Portuguese courts.
Image Courtesy of Marine Traffic