The authorities in Portugal have seized more than 5 tons of cocaine with an estimated worth of $232 million, recovering the illegal drugs from a 79-foot or 24-meter yacht floating in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday.

Portugal's Largest Drug Seizure in the Last 15 Years

According to the New York Post, the Portuguese authorities shared one of the biggest drug busts in Europe in recent years as they consider it as their nation's biggest in 15 years. The Spanish-flagged sailing yacht in the Atlantic Ocean was cornered by the Portuguese police with assistance from its countries' navy and air force. Portugal's law enforcement overall recovered 183 bales of cocaine during the seizure.

The drug interception was dubbed as "White Tide." The operation involved police from several countries like Portugal and Spain. The interception was also participated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom.

During the inspection at the vessel, three men were arrested. Based on the initial investigation by Portuguese authorities, officials believed that the individuals are part of a major international drug pipeline between Latin America and Europe.

Portugal's Judiciary Police said the three individuals arrested were strongly suspected of being part of a powerful transnational criminal organization. The Portuguese authorities stated that the group was dedicated to the trafficking of large quantities of cocaine.

The authorities in Portugal said that the illegal drugs were entering the continent through the Iberian Peninsula.

Moreover, two of the suspects who were detained were Spanish and the other one was Peruvian, Euro News reported.

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Portuguese Authorities Ready for More Drug Interceptions

Based on the report of Reuters, Portugal's Judiciary Police Chief Luis Neves said during a press conference on Monday that they are always expecting more drug trafficking, and the recent drug interception was the message that they wanted to send to the criminal organizations.

Neves also warned the groups running the drug trafficking in the area. The Police Chief of Portugal emphasized that they are waiting for them and would capture them. He also said that the latest haul represented the largest amount of cocaine ever seized from a sailboat globally.

"Those who have to fall will fall because this amount of drugs is an immense fortune and a huge blow for criminal groups," Neves said at the press conference.

Furthermore, the head of Spain's police narcotics unit, Antonio Duarte, stated that the three men who were arrested had been on authorities' radar and an arrest warrant had been issued for one of them.

The seizure came after new gangs continued to muscle into cocaine markets in the continent of Europe. They recently set up smuggling networks directly linking producers in Latin America to European consumers, according to Lisbon-based EU drugs agency, EMCDDA or the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

The agency added that cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in Europe.

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This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Jess Smith

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