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Customs seizes 172kg of cocaine from bulk carrier

HM Customs seized 172kg of cocaine from a Hong Kong bulk carrier ‘BBG Journey’ as it called to Gibraltar yesterday.

In the early hours, Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) of the Gibraltar Port Authority informed HM Customs of a vessel calling at Gibraltar that was at the time taking bunkers in the bay not far from the North Mole within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.

The vessel was sailing under the Hong Kong flag when a local company was undertaking a routine hull inspection at their request.

“The divers had noticed various abnormalities by the sea chest, namely some ropes that
protruded through the cover grill,” a statement from HM Customs said.

HMC Sentinel was then deployed and officers boarded the diving vessel where they found six large packages stashed within the sea chest compartment of the vessel.

“Officers requested the divers to remove and retrieve the said packages, which were then transferred onto the diving vessel and subsequently to HM Customs Marine Base for processing and examination by the Royal Gibraltar Police Crime Scene Investigation Unit,” HM Customs said.

The packages were opened and found to contain a total of 172kg of cocaine.

HM Customs interviewed all crew members and after conducting further searches the
vessel was released, but said investigations continue.

“Although there are no reasons to suspect that the drugs were destined to Gibraltar, this detection has prevented a substantial amount of illegal drugs from ending up at its intended destination and has no doubt served a considerable economic blow to the drugs traffickers behind it, depriving them of the proceeds of this criminal activity,” the statement said.

The Collector of Customs thanked the Gibraltar Port Authority and the Royal
Gibraltar Police for their assistance.

He also commended his own officers for their hard work and professionalism and congratulated them on a job well done.

The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, congratulated all officers and officials involved in this “excellent seizure which deprives the drug gangs of an important cargo and saves lives by keeping the drugs off the streets.”

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