“Creativity” in the fight against drug trafficking fills the need for more means, says the minister

Helena Carreiras highlighted that these operations to combat drug trafficking have involved “collaboration” between the Air Force, Navy, Maritime Authority and the Judiciary Police.

The Minister of National Defense stressed today that the work and creativity of the maritime authorities and the Air Force in the fight against drug trafficking makes it possible to fill the need for more human and technical resources, praising the “great success” of recent operations.

Questioned by journalists about a possible increase in human and technical resources to respond to the increase in drug trafficking by sea, Helena Carreiras noted the “very creative way” in which the Navy, Maritime Authority and Air Force have developed “means and technologies” that help combat .

“And I believe that this work and this creativity, with the help of innovation, technologies, will eventually fill some needs that we have in terms of means for this fight”, he added, praising “the very competent people and the very operational qualified” involved in these actions.

The minister was speaking on the sidelines of an initiative held at the Cais Comercial de Faro, where she was accompanied by the Minister of Justice Catarina Sarmento e Castro, as part of the “More Closer Government” action, which takes place today and Thursday in the district of Faro, with around 60 initiatives and the presence of several members of the executive.

The Navy and National Maritime Authority (AMN) seized 16,48 tons of drugs on the Portuguese coast in the first two months of 2023, practically the same amount of drugs seized in the whole of last year (16,52 tons).

Helena Carreiras, after observing some of the means involved, highlighted that these operations to combat drug trafficking have involved “collaboration” between the Air Force, Navy, Maritime Authority and Judicial Police (PJ).

"We are talking about a set of concrete operations with results that we know very well, of great success in the seizure of drugs, in the identification of illicit activities that have been intensifying and that should concern us", he stressed, showing "confidence" that the institutions involved are “managing to do a very meritorious job” in defense of the populations.

Asked whether the absence of elements from the Coastal Control Unit of the GNR denoted little articulation between the different entities, the Minister of National Defense stressed that the GNR “has its area of ​​operation”.

“Of course, we all have to cooperate and that is our guideline. It is what I have, myself, the Minister [of Justice] and the Minister of Internal Administration, considered, this is what we have been doing and this is what we will continue to do, continue to cooperate ”, she said.

Justice Minister Catarina Sarmento e Castro maintained that the PJ has made seizures and closed down some workshops that build speedboats involved in drug trafficking, but the official admitted changes in the law, similarly to the neighboring country, whose legislation "identifies who can use , in a more restricted way, these speedboats”.

“And by doing this, in fact, [Spain] narrowed down the possibility [of using speedboats]. It seems to me that this is an issue that must also be worked on between us. We are working with the PJ on this, seeing what are the possibilities, from a legal point of view, of narrowing down the possibility of using these speedboats and thus also restricting their use”, he commented.

During the action carried out today in Faro, all elements of the Marines, Maritime Police and Air Force involved in actions to combat drug trafficking carried out in recent months were distinguished with a collective commendation.

The Naval Cross Medal was also awarded to the Maritime Police agents involved in an operation on February 4, in which two elements were injured after the vessel they were traveling on was hit by a speedboat driven by the traffickers.