Brazilian law enforcement arrested six people and confiscated 30 kilos of cocaine in the port of Santos, Brazil, according to Brazilian news outlet G1/Globo. The drug traffickers, five Brazilians and an Argentinian, were arrested at the Santos cruise terminal as they attempted to board the Coast Tiara (top photo) who was about to embark on a transatlantic cruise to Europe.
Video posted to Brazilian media outlet G1/Globo shows drug-addicted dogs alerting to luggage containing fake funds (pictured below) and a man arrested with 1.74kg of cocaine wrapped around his waist (pictured right).
This is the second major recent drug seizure involving a cruise ship from the port of Santos in Brazil. Earlier this month, Spanish and French police arrested a total of twelve passengers, in separate arrests, involved in the smuggling of a total of sixty-six kilograms of cocaine. During these arrests, customs officers used sniffer dogs to check the smugglers’ suitcases, which had a false bottom and contained around three and a half kilos of narcotics.
Smuggling drugs out of Brazil on cruise ships is big business. Three years ago, the federal police of this country arrested sixteen passengers aboard the Costa Favolosa cruise ship that carried 300 kg of cocaine in their luggage.
A Brazilian newspaper reports the arrest of six #cruise terminal passengers about to smuggle 30kg of cocaine on board @CostaCruises Costa Diadema at Santos Port https://t.co/MWNDWJl2NG The latest drug seizure on a Costa cruise ship at this port involved 300kg of cocaine on Costa Favolosa
— James (Jim) Walker (@CruiseLaw) April 21, 2022
During a two-year period, from 2012 to 2014, no less than thirty-four people who posed as Costa cruise ship passengers participated in a smuggling ring that transported hashish from Morocco to Brazil and from cocaine from South America to Europe, according to Le local newspaper in France.
The investigation, which began following a 2013 murder investigation, led police to place French and Spanish undercover agents on the Costa Fascinosa cruise ship in March 2014 while traveling from Brazil to Venice, Italy. As the ship approached the Canary Islands, officers arrested most of the contraband team and seized 25 kg of cocaine.
The article also mentioned that the unfortunate Costa Concordia reportedly carrying a huge shipment of Mafia-owned cocaine when she sank in January 2012. You can read more about this issue in our article from seven years ago: Mafia Drugs Hidden Aboard Doomed Costa Concordia.
We previously reported that several people were arrested for smuggling 16 kg of cocaine during disembarkation Costa Pacifica to Malaga after a transatlantic cruise from South America several years ago.
As I have said before – as cruising appears to be increasing (despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), it is likely that cruise ships will continue to be used by crew members and guests to smuggle of drugs from South American countries to the United States and Europe. .
Hats off to the popular Crew Center which appears to be the only publication in the US to report on this latest incident so far.
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Images: Top – drug-sniffing dog in the cruise terminal at the Port of Santos, Brazil (screen capture) – G1/Global; drugs around the waist (screenshot) –G1/Global; Costa Diadema – Z Thomas – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons/wikimedia.