Monday, 12 January 2009

Seized 4,400 kilos of hashish from a yacht flying the British flag

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Seized 4,400 kilos of hashish from a yacht flying the British flag off the coast of Torrevieja early last Friday morning and arrested the two crew members. Antonio L.R., aged 37, is a Spaniard with previous convictions for drug smuggling, and Daniel D.D., 28, is a North African who was carrying French identification and a British passport as well. Customs had spotted the craft during the afternoon on New Year's Day sailing 12 miles out to sea and considering it ‘suspicious', sent the Arao patrol boat to investigate. Provincial customs and excise department chief Arturo Marcos said that it had been sailing very slowly with its lights turned off. The yacht, a 12-metre-long vessel called the Masquerade, changed course and officers decided to carry out a search when it entered Spanish waters. Three officers boarded without resistance at 07.00 and immediately saw the contraband in several packages on the deck of the boat. They obtained a search warrant and took the crew and cargo to Alicante port, arriving at around 11.00. The drugs were unloaded on the quay, attracting the attention of several passersby, and the suspects were taken to the National Police headquarters. The investigation into the intended destination of the shipment, valued at 18 million euros, remains open.

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