DRUGS valued at more than €23 million on the black market have been seized off the coast of Cartagena.
The find was part of an anti-drug operation involving the Inland Revenue and Customs patrols from Alicante and Cartagena. The merchant ship was stopped after the authorities, in collaboration with French Customs, detected the presence of the suspect vessel.
Both Alicante and Cartagena sent patrol boats and officers confiscated 15 tonnes and the nine crew members, from Egypt, India, Syria and Sri Lanka, were all arrested.
The use of the route from the eastern Mediterranean to transport large shipments of hashish in merchant or fishing ships before transferring to smaller boats to be landed directly on the Spanish coast was common until a few years ago.
Now, with French, Italian and Spanish authorities working together such operations are more sporadic.