Police in Cape Verde have arrested 11 Russians in a record cocaine bust

Police in Cape Verde have arrested 11 Russians in a swoop on a vessel which uncovered a record 9.5-tonne cocaine haul.

The drugs stash was found in 260 packets on the Russian-crewed, Panamanian-registered ESER vessel, the police said as they made their biggest ever narcotics find in the archipelago.

An October 2011 raid had turned up 1.5 tonnes of cocaine in the previous biggest haul, on that occasion found in a building in the capital Praia.

“The cargo coming from South America was headed for Tangiers but was intercepted at Praia port while complying with judicial procedures linked to the death of a crew member,” police said.

They added they had advance warning the vessel was suspected of having drugs aboard after an exchange of information with the Lisbon-based, EU-funded Maritime Analysis and Operation Centre.

Police added that they had also received logistical support from Portuguese and French police as well as Cape Verde’s armed forces and naval police.

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