The authorities of the West African Republic of Cape Verde announced the arrest of 11 Russian sailors from the Panamanian cargo ship ESER, on board of which 9.5 tons of cocaine were found.
At black market prices, the cost of such a quantity of cocaine – if it were sold illegally at “street” prices – can exceed $ 1.5 billion.
The arrest of the sailors and the ship was made on January 31. The fact of the detention of Russian citizens was confirmed by the Russian Embassy. As the representative of the diplomatic mission told RIA Novosti, the Russian embassy in Praia (the capital of Cape Verde) contacted the detainees and the investigating authorities.
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Also, the representative of the embassy confirmed that according to preliminary information, the detention is associated with suspected drug smuggling.
About the detention of the vessel said the portal Maritime Bulletin (the former “Sea Bulletin – Sovfraht”). According to him, the ship ESER sailed from Panama to Morocco.
All 11 members of his crew have Russian citizenship, the site reported. According to him, the ship was forced to go to the port of Cape Verde urgently after one of the crew members died unexpectedly.
At the end of last year, ESER changed its owner – the Turkish company Gemiciler Denizcilik Nakliyat told the Maritime Bulletin portal that it sold it to Panamanian Ecolive de Panama.
Largest cocaine consignment in history
The largest seizure of cocaine in history is the seizure of 12 tons of drugs by the Colombian police from the country’s largest drug cartel in November 2017.
Recently, several large operations to combat drug trafficking were carried out by the Spanish police: in October 2018, 5 tons of cocaine were intercepted in Malaga, and in January this year, in a joint operation of law enforcement agencies of Italy and Spain, the consignee of 2.7 tons was detained – in the cargo, which went from Honduras to Barcelona through Livorno, the police replaced the cocaine with salt.
In early 2018, the Argentine authorities announced the discovery of drug trafficking, passing through the building belonging to the Russian Embassy in Buenos Aires. Drug traffickers allegedly intended to send cocaine to Russia in diplomatic baggage, which is not checked by customs.
It was reported that the investigation was launched after in December 2016, the Russian ambassador informed the Argentine authorities of the discovery of suspicious suitcases in the school building at the embassy.
According to the Argentine police, 360 bags of cocaine with a total weight of 389 kg, worth about 50 million euros, were found in 12 suitcases.
To detain drug dealers, Argentine policemen replaced cocaine with flour, equipped their suitcases with GPS sensors and sent them to Moscow in December 2017.
As a result of the investigation, several people were arrested – three are in a pre-trial detention center in Moscow, another was detained in Germany.