It is the time of transatlantic cruises. The shipping companies position their ships during the months of April and May from South America, where they spend the austral summer, to Europe, where they will sail over the next few months through the Mediterranean, the Norwegian fjords or the North Pole. And with this come the “hot” routes, those that may be susceptible to some of the cruise passengers carrying cocaine from Santos, one of the main departure points for this drug, in their luggage. In recent weeks, up to 84 kilos of this substance have been intercepted on two of these ships: one of them made a stopover in Puerto de La Luz and the drug was later intercepted in Valenciaand the other now crosses the Atlantic and is scheduled to make a stop in Santa Cruz de Tenerife next Saturday.
One of these ships was the MSC Seaside, which has a capacity for between 4,134 and 5,336 passengers, and a crew of 1,413 people. The cruise ship left Santos on March 19 and on its way north it planned to make an excursion through the Canary archipelago, visiting Santa Cruz de La Palma, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and, finally, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, after set course for Valencia.
In the journey there were technical problems which caused the Canarian route to be reduced to just one night, that of March 29, in Puerto de La Luz to solve the fault, according to Portalcruceros.cl. The company even offered its clients the option of traveling to Tenerife to get to know the Island while the setback was corrected.
The surprise came when he arrived in the city of Turia on April 3. Over there, the dogs of the cinological unit of the Civil Guard During the disembarkation of the passengers, several packages suspected of transporting narcotic substances were detected.
The dogs marked the drug and after a more in-depth analysis of fifteen suitcases, the agents found a total of 54 kilos of cocaine hidden in false bottoms of the luggage. Thus, the Office of Analysis and Investigation (ODAIFI) of the Civil Guard and Customs Surveillance proceeded to the arrest of the ten passengers that transported the drug, four men and six women, all of them of Brazilian nationality.
To try to go unnoticed on the ship and not raise suspicions of those arrested they traveled in pairs, simulating an idyllic pleasure trip. The Civil Guard has estimated that the ten detainees belong to at least two different criminal organizations with no connection between them but with the same modus operandi.
A first group, of two couples, seized 20 kilos, and the other six arrested the remaining 34 kilos. One of the alleged criminal organizations intended to distribute the drug in Madrid and the other in Lisbon, according to the newspaper Raise-EMV, of the Editorial Prensa Ibérica group to which LA PROVINCIA / Diario de Las Palmas also belongs. In addition, three of the couples had booked the hotel in the city of Valencia, where it was also intended to facilitate its sale to third parties.
The drug was distributed in fifteen suitcases, with approximately three and a half kilos each. As a curiosity, there is the circumstance that women were in charge of carrying more drugs, as each one of them -except one- carried two suitcases, as it is usual for women’s luggage to be more voluminous.
The ten detainees, between 23 and 50 years old, were placed at the disposal of the Court of Instruction number three of Valencia, on guard duty. After accepting his right not to testify, the judge agreed to the pretrial detention of all of them for drug trafficking crimes of notorious importance and belonging to a criminal organization.
The other operation was carried out on April 18 in the same port of Santos, where Brazilian police intercepted six passengers, five of Brazilian nationality and one more of Argentine origin, with 30 kilos of cocaine, reported media from the South American country. The training of dogs prepared for the location of this drug was also fundamental in this case, since the dogs were in charge of checking the suitcases of the approximately 900 cruise passengers who go on the Coast Headbandwhich is currently crossing the Atlantic and is expected to make a stopover in Santa Cruz de Tenerife next Saturday.
The Civil Guard reported yesterday that the surveillance procedures are strengthened according to the origin of the ship, although for the discovery of the drug the place of disembarkation of the same is crucial, as happened in Valencia.