The recent cocaine bust in the Atlantic by international law enforcement agencies led to the seizure of nearly 4 tons of the drug from a tugboat around 400 miles from the Spanish coast, between Azores islands and Madeira. The cocaine seized by the Spanish authorities is worth an estimated $260 million or €220 million in the market.
The cocaine was found wrapped in 165 individual packages and concealed under the gallery floor of the vessel. Each packet contained approximately 23 kg of powdered cocaine. There was no information about the destination of the drugs, authorities said.
Joint operation helped nab the culprits
The Spanish custom officials were able to intercept the Comoros-flagged vessel with the help of intel inputs from the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA). The authorities, along with police and the NCA, towed the vessel into the Spanish port of Cádiz on October 6. They arrested all the seven crewmembers who were from Turkey and Azerbaijan. The operation was a collaboration of all the above agencies and was supervised and coordinated by the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre-Narcotics (MAOC-N) in Lisbon.
Speaking about the success of the mission, NCA spokesperson Mark Blackwell said, “Seizing this quantity of cocaine represents a major disruption to international crime groups, depriving them of revenue potentially running into hundreds of millions of pounds.”
Drugs are addictive
Transporting drugs in vessels is an oft-repeated modus operandi for drug smugglers, and most of the times, they get away with it. One cannot even begin to imagine the destruction those cocaine packets would have caused had they reached their destination.
Whether it is cocaine, heroin or other drugs, when they reach the end users, there is rampant misuse and abuse, leading to chronic and severe addiction. Substance abuse is a major problem across the world, and especially, the United States, which is reeling under an opioid addiction pandemic. Thousands of Americans die every year from drug overdoses.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that majority of drug overdose deaths involve an opioid, and it has more than quadrupled in the country. “From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose,” says the CDC.
Dealing with addiction
Severe and chronic addiction is a scourge, but it is not the end of the road. With appropriate treatment at any credible rehab, one can gain sobriety and long-term recovery. If you have a loved one struggling with an addiction, seek immediate help.
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