ON AUGUST 18, the Gibraltar Customs Department announced that on the previous day, a Spanish male had been arrested by HM Customs Officers after a small vessel was stopped and searched off Rosia Bay as part of their day to day operations.
Two hidden compartments containing a total of 35,000 cigarettes were found within the vessel and the individual was questioned and then released on bail pending further enquiries.
This arrest shows once again that the Gibraltar authorities are doing all that they can to combat the smuggling of duty free tobacco into Spain in contradiction of Spanish government claims.
On the same day, Francisco Jose Mateos Alarcon also a Spanish national was arrested at Four Corners by officers of the Flexible Anti Smuggling Team after five slabs of cannabis resin weighing 493.39 grams were detected concealed in his underwear. He appeared in court on August 18 and has been sentenced to five months imprisonment.
Customs saw additional action on that day in company with the Royal Gibraltar Police and Gibraltar Regiment when an inflatable containing nine Moroccans landed illegally between Catalan Bay and Sandy Bay which resulted in a major search of the area and eventually all of the people, who were thought to heading for Spain as illegal immigrants, were detained.
Whilst the individuals involved have now all been taken into custody and authorities appear satisfied that their arrival was in no way connected with intended acts of terrorism, there were clearly some initial fears that this might be an attack rather than a case of poor navigation.