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Police and Customs seize cocaine worth £2m, no arrests

Police and Customs officers seized a shipment of cocaine weighing 25 kilos and worth £2m from a Panama-flag bulk carrier on Wednesday afternoon.

The vessel was boarded on Wednesday afternoon at the Western Anchorage and officers from the Royal Gibraltar Police and HM Customs carried out the search, which went on late into the night.

In a video posted on the Royal Gibraltar Police’s social media, footage showed divers removing a “parasite” device that was attached to the hull of the ship with powerful magnets.

Ropes were attached to the device – a metal box - and it was pulled away clean before being raised out of the water.

Some 25 kilos of cocaine were discovered inside in individually wrapped packages, with an estimated street value of between £1.5million to £2million.

Further police interviews and a search, with the assistance of HM Customs Dog Section, was carried out on the vessel, which was released late Wednesday night to continue its journey.

A spokesman for the RGP told the Chronicle: ““No arrests were effected as the investigation conducted throughout the course of Wednesday afternoon determined there were no grounds or necessity to effect any arrests.”

According to commercial ship tracking websites, the vessel had sailed from the Colombian port of Ciénaga and is making its way to Karabiga in Turkey.

The use of ‘parasitic’ devices to smuggle drugs is common and, in most cases, happens without the knowledge of the crew.

The RGP spokesman would not comment on how law enforcement in Gibraltar came to know of the presence of the drugs on the bulk carrier, though it is likely the tip-off came though partner agencies in other countries.

Both police and Customs in Gibraltar liaise as a matter of routine with other law enforcement agencies around the globe to target traffickers.

For his part, Police Commissioner, Richard Ullger, said: “The RGP is proud to continue to be part of the global fight against drugs.”

“This is a great result and will dent the efforts of organised crime groups to profit from the misery of others.”
“This has been an excellent collaboration with external partners.”

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