The Civil Guard intervenes 1000 kilograms of cocaine in the novel "African maritime route" of international drug trafficking

Since last February, the Central Operational Unit (UCO) had different information about this Croatian-flagged sailboat, related to international drug trafficking

Sanitary controls as a result of COVID-19 in different South American ports truncated the plans of this organization, being forced to receive the drug off the African coast of the Gulf of Guinea

The three crew members of the boat have been arrested, all of them Croatian nationality and with backgrounds linked to drug trafficking and arms trafficking.

The Civil Guard, in the so-called Operation Falkusa, has carried out the boarding of a Croatian-flagged sailboat in international waters, some 88 miles west of the island of La Palma, intervening in its interior a total of 980 packages of cocaine which has led to the arrest of its three crew members, all of them of Croatian nationality.

The investigation began last February, when the Central Anti-Drug Group of the Central Operational Unit had different information on the Croatian-flagged “MAJIC” vessel, which at the discretion of the agents would link it directly to international drug trafficking large-scale narcotics.

Smooth international collaboration

Within the usual international contacts in which the Civil Guard works in the police and institutional sphere, once this information was shared, the investigators were quickly able to specify, thanks to the Croatian National Police in the first place, that this boat left at the end February from Dubroknic (Croatia) bound for Montenegro and possibly later on to Spanish shores.

In this way, the boat was located upon arrival at the Port of Almería from where it was transferred to the island of Lanzarote, all of this being subjected to discreet surveillance by the Canary Islands Organized Crime Team (ECO), which allowed the identification of all its crew settled on that island, as well as knowing their intention to set sail for Caribbean waters in a short period of time.

Due to all the previous information provided, the Civil Guard was assigned the exclusive investigation of this vessel suspected of international drug trafficking, which was subsequently joined by the Croatian authorities (NCA), American authorities (DEA) due to its relevance. , Dutch and French customs, as well as the Europol agency.

As a result of this international coordination, the Civil Guard confirmed that the investigated vessel was in the waters off the island of Barbados and later on the island of Martinique at the beginning of April.

Border controls due to COVID-19

Due to the pandemic that is being suffered worldwide, the MAJIC crew was subjected to several health controls and inspections in different Caribbean ports, facts that the investigators have judged made the members of this organization desist from any attempt to load the drugs in these circumstances, so they returned to the Canary Islands, specifically the port of Arrecife in Lanzarote in the first days of June.

From that moment, the three MAJIC crew members separated at different points on the European continent, meeting again on that same island in mid-August, where agents of the Civil Guard's Central Operative Unit were again monitored.

Maritime Surveillance Coordination Center

A few days after that meeting, the MAJIC set sail with a declared destination of Brazil, verifying from the Civil Guard Coordination and Maritime Surveillance Center (CECORVIMAR) that after leaving the Canary Islands, the vessel did not follow a course in accordance with its declared destination, heading south parallel to African coasts to the Gulf of Guinea, always in international waters.

By later shifting north, he made the agents suspect that a possible transshipment of drugs on the high seas had occurred from an unidentified vessel, which triggered the rapid and urgent intervention of the Civil Guard Maritime Service through its ocean vessel Río Segura, with members on board of the Special Intervention Unit (UEI) in the event of a possible collision on the high seas, all in anticipation of the possible narcotic substance being discharged at some point on the coast of the Canary Islands.

Among the capabilities available to this Coordination Center, the facility to locate in real time the means deployed by the Civil Guard, both air and land, as well as satellite surveillance through the latest technologies for the secure exchange of voice and data stands out. , which, added to many other characteristics, make the Civil Guard the ideal police force to assume this type of responsibility globally in any situation.

In this way, at dawn last Wednesday, the aforementioned intervention was carried out, proceeding to board the boat and inspect it, finding the agents in several rooms of this, a large number of bales of what could possibly be cocaine , both detainees and the cargo and the seized vessel were then transferred to the Port of Tazacorte on the Island of La Palma, where the vessel was judicially searched and the drug was weighed, resulting in a final weight of more than 1 Ton in the 980 packages of cocaine seized.

Balkan gang members

As a result of the different investigations in which the Civil Guard is working, it should be noted that the presence in our country of members of criminal gangs from Eastern European countries, such as Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, etc., is increasingly consolidated. , located mainly in strategic areas of our country to carry out transoceanic navigations, such as the Canary Islands, Galicia and the southern part of the peninsula, consolidating the trend that points to criminal organizations in this area as those responsible for many of the cocaine imports into Europe.

Following the arrest of these three MAJIC crew members and close international police collaboration, several house and property searches are being carried out in Croatia, thus expanding the investigation that is being carried out in their country of origin.

This important operation has been directed by the National Court and carried out by the Central Anti-drug Group and the Canary Islands Organized Crime Team, both belonging to the Central Operational Unit (UCO), with the fundamental support of different units of the Corps. , such as the Special Intervention Unit (UEI) in charge of the boarding action of the sailboat, the Maritime Service through its ocean vessel Río Segura, and different units of the Tenerife Command, the entire device being coordinated from the Coordination Center of Maritime Surveillance (CECORVIGMAR), as well as from the Technical Unit of the Judicial Police.

For more information, you can contact the Communication Office of the Central Operational Unit (UCO) at 915 146 010.

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