Six traffickers transporting 1600 kilos of hashish detained off Faro

Boat of traffickers was detected during a training flight of the Portuguese Air Force

Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação

The detection of a suspicious vessel in international waters, during a training flight by the Portuguese Air Force (FAP), led to the seizure of 44 bales of hashish, weighing 1600 kilos and estimated to be sold on the streets «between 3 and 4 million euros», and the arrest of six traffickers, last night, in a joint action by the National Maritime Authority, the Portuguese Navy, the Judiciary Police and the FAP.

Those detained in the operation, which took place approximately 53 nautical miles south of Faro and lasted 'several hours', they were all 'young people who are not Europeans'. The boat they were on was also seized, along with the drugs.

«This action was the result of a close collaboration and cooperation between the entities involved. It all started as part of an inspection action by the Air Force, which signals the speedboat. Subsequently, a police operation was launched, in close sharing of information and cooperation between the entities involved», revealed António Madureira, director of the Southern Directorate of the Judiciary Police.

Colonel Carlos Lourenço, commander of Air Base nº11 in Beja, explained, on the other hand, that the detection of the suspicious vessel was made «by a maritime patrol aircraft».

«In the particular context of this operation, the aircraft was even on a normal training mission for crew qualification. But, even in training and in a context of gaining more qualifications, we are developing the mission and function of maritime surveillance”, he explained.


Commander Rosa Pacheco, António Madureira and Colonel Carlos Lourenço


The FAP gave the alert and a response was quickly triggered by the other entities involved.

“The interception was carried out by two vessels belonging to the Maritime Police and the Navy’s boarding platoon, as well as a speedboat inspection”, according to Rocha Pacheco, commander of the Southern Maritime Zone.

The approach to the suspects was made "in adverse sea and weather conditions, with strong swells from the northwest, wind and reduced visibility", but "it was peaceful, there was no resistance or any incident".

The men and the drug were later brought ashore and detained by the Judiciary Police.

«The investigation continues and we will try to understand all the contours that involved these transports, namely the logistics of the organization, among other information», according to António Madureira.

“This is also a signal to the community that the institutions work, are vigilant and that we are here ready to fight this phenomenon that worries us”, he added.

Colonel Carlos Lourenço, from FAP, pointed out that the way the different entities work and are organized, «even in an almost unexpected context, we were able to quickly develop an operation that had final results. And this is the result of all subsequent work and the processes that are implemented».



Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação