cocaine seized off Cape Verde

The Cape Verdean judicial police announced last week that they had seized more than five tonnes of cocaine. The drugs were aboard a fishing boat from Brazil and were seized at sea whilst the boat was in Cape Verdean waters. The police also arrested five Brazilian and two Montenegrin nationals. The USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams and American naval boats assisted the police. The operation was mounted on 1 April following suspicions of drug trafficking.

This drugs seizure is one of the largest ever made by the Cape Verdean police. It is estimated to have a street value of  $350m (€321m). The largest seizure was in January 2019 when 9.5 tonnes of cocaine were seized. On that occasion the boat was Panamanian and the crew were Russian.

Cape Verde is vulnerable to drugs trafficking. This is because one of the main routes is from South America to the west coast of Africa. However, Cape Verde has limited resources to patrol the waters. Therefore, the close co-operation with the United States Navy is invaluable. The National Director of the Judicial Police (Polícia Judiciária) made a statement to journalists in Praia on the island of Santiago.