Some of the suspects are believed to be linked to the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta.
More than 800 kilos of cocaine were seized on board a fishing boat. (Photo: Ministerio del Interior, License)The operation is the result of a seven-month-long investigation into an Albanian drug trafficking organization, based in Spain but with access to a large maritime infrastructure in Brazil. From there, vessels loaded with large shipments of cocaine sailed to the gang’s base in the Gulf of Guinea.
After monitoring the movement of the group’s ships, investigators determined that one was carrying a large amount of cocaine.
The Gambian vessel was intercepted by Senegalese officers, through collaboration with the DEA, the Atlantic Analysis and Operations Center and the French Air Force, about 335 miles from Dakar. A total of 805 kilos of cocaine were found on the boat.
The fishing boat had received the drugs from a larger ship in the open waters. This is a common method narco groups use: large ships carry the drugs across the ocean and then transfer the cargo to smaller vessels that bring it on shore.
Authorities revealed that part of the crew had connections to the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, a notorious Italian criminal organization known for its involvement in drug trafficking.
The arrests and seizure of the cocaine represent a major blow to the drug trafficking operations of the Albanian group and its connections to other criminal groups, authorities said.