Cape Verde seizes 9.5 tons of cocaine, Russian sailors arrested | News | DW | 02.02.2019
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Cape Verde seizes 9.5 tons of cocaine, Russian sailors arrested

Authorities in Cape Verde arrested 11 Russian sailors after seizing over 9.5 tons of cocaine aboard their ship. A source cited by Interfax said the suspects were "processing" the events while in lockup.

A crew of 11 Russian sailors was due to appear before a court in Cape Verde after the island nations' police found over 9.5 tons of cocaine in a raid on a Panama-registered vessel on Friday. Photos published by the local Record TV outlet showed brick-like packages wrapped in cloth and plastic.

Officials said the ship came from South America and was heading towards Morocco, but the crew had to dock in Cape Verde's capital, Praia, over "the death of a crew member."

The Lisbon-based Maritime Analysis and Operation Center, an international anti-trafficking body, first alerted the Cape Verde police about the possible presence of drugs. Portuguese and French police also helped with the logistics of the operation, the Cape Verde authorities said.

Read more: The 'South American tsunami' of cocaine in Germany

'Processing the events'

The Friday raid marks the largest cocaine bust in the history of the North African archipelago.

On Saturday, Russian Interfax news agency cited a source in the Russian Embassy as saying that the group was due to appear before court "soon."

"Their condition is normal, they are healthy, they are currently in the stage of processing the events," the embassy source was quoted as saying.

The report of the raid comes just days after Italy announced their largest cocaine bust in 25 years, after Italian police seized 2.1 tons of cocaine in the port of Genoa.

Watch video 01:48

Colombia: Amount of cocaine produced is skyrocketing

dj/ng (Reuters, AFP, Interfax)

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