(CNN Spanish) — While the Colombian authorities won applause this weekend by reporting the historic number of cocaine seized in 2022, in Spain the National Police reported the giant seizure of a shipment of cocaine from the South American country: 4.5 tons of cocaine hydrochloride. on a Togolese-flagged vessel, on a cargo of cattle from Colombia, said the Spanish Police in a statement.
The operation occurred 62 kilometers from the Canary Islands this weekend. Authorities intercepted a Togolese-flagged freighter carrying cattle from Colombia and destined for the Middle East, Spanish police said. The price of the drug on the streets is estimated at US$114 million, reported Reuters.
The shipment had made several stops at a dozen ports in various countries before the raid, and police said smugglers had started using cattle boats because it was harder for police to track their illicit cargo, Reuters reported.
“After inspecting the common areas of the merchant, the presence of an undetermined number of bales of those usually used for cocaine trafficking was detected in a feed silo,” the statement said.
Twenty-eight people of different nationalities were arrested in the operation: ten Tanzanians, five Syrians, four Kenyans, two Ecuadorians, two Panamanians, two Colombians, one Dominican, one Nepali and one Nicaraguan, according to the Police.
Both the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, DEA; the Atlantic Analysis and Operations Center (MAOC-N) and the Intelligence Center Against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO), and the Togolese authorities, said the Spanish Police.
This operation occurs a few days after the Spanish authorities seized another boat on January 18 with 4,500 kilos of cocaine, according to the Police.
Colombia reaches record number in cocaine seizures
Meanwhile, the Colombian government reported that 2022 closed with the largest seizure of tons of cocaine since records were recorded, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defense published this weekend.
In total, 671 tons of cocaine were seized last year, a figure that exceeded the previous year by more than 1.5 tons, according to Ministry of Defense figures. In 2020, 505 tons were seized, while the year before that, 2019, 428 tons of cocaine were seized, according to data from the Ministry of Defense. The first year that the seizure of cocaine in the country was registered was 2010.
The departments of Nariño, Bolívar and Valle del Cauca were the ones that registered the highest number of requisitions during the period, according to figures reported by Reuters.
Cocaine production and trafficking are considered the main fuel fueling the almost six-decade armed conflict that has left more than 450,000 dead and millions displaced.
The guerrilla of the National Liberation Army, the FARC dissidents and criminal gangs made up of former right-wing paramilitaries are implicated in drug trafficking.
— With information from Reuters.
Source: CNN Espanol