A yacht, found off the coast of Portugal with the country’s largest-ever haul of cocaine, illustrates how these smaller, private vessels have become a favored modus operandi to move cocaine between Latin America and lucrative European markets.
Portuguese and Spanish authorities seized 5.2 tons of cocaine, valued at $232 million, on a yacht 550 kilometers off the coast of Portugal on October 18.
The drug bust represented the largest cocaine seizure in Portugal in 15 years. It marked the largest cocaine seizure ever on a yacht, according to Luis Neves, the director of Portugal’s police force for criminal investigations.
The operation was part of an investigation that began in early 2021 into how vast quantities of cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela were being moved to Europe via private yachts, according to a press release issued by Spain’s National Police.