Italian Police Intercepted Cocaine Load on Bulgarian ShipCrime | August 17, 2012, Friday // 14:29| views
The 3 tons of cocaine seized in Spain is of very high grade and its value is estimated at around EUR 150 M. Photo by BTA
The Bulgarian ship carrying 3 tons of cocaine has been discovered by an Italian patrol aircraft equipped with top-of-the-line technology.
The information was reported Friday by the Bulgarian news agency dnes.bg, citing France Press and the Chief of the operation, lieutenant-colonel Giovanni Interdonato.
The ship sailing under Bulgarian flag on which Spanish authorities found and seized the huge load of narcotics has been intercepted and traced for two days and two nights by an ATR-42 aircraft of the Italian Finance Police.
Interdonato has declined to offer details about the modern technology as to not reveal valuable information to illegal drug trafficking groups. He explained the Italian Finance Police patrol on regular basis for possible sea drug channels, catching in 2012 over 8 tons of marijuana and locating 250 marijuana plantations in Albania.
Spanish authorities nabbed Tuesday 31 people, including 21 Bulgarians, after seizing 3 tons of cocaine brought from South America on a ship caught off the southern coast.
The cocaine is of very high grade and its value is estimated at around EUR 150 M.
The SV Nikolay (Saint Nikolay) ship is owned by Burgas-based company Seaborne Trade.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed they knew about the bust since Tuesday, but no one from the Bulgarians in the crew has requested official assistance.
The Italian police say in a press release that the ship was anchored near the African coast and then moved to the Caribbean to load the drug, after receiving green light from Colombian drug bosses. The Italians suspect that load was destined to reach Madrid by land.
Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, says the country's authorities have sent the tipoff about the ship carrying 3 tons of cocaine off the coast of Spain, and that the operation codenamed Cartel has been carried out jointly by the Main Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime, GDBOP, the French police, the US DEA and the UK COCA.
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