Spanish Navy’s Pride and Joy Used for Cocaine Smuggling
Spain’s Guardia Civil has discovered 127 kilograms (280 pounds) of cocaine on board the training ship Juan Sebastián Elcano. Regarded as one of the most impressive tall ships in the world, what the Spanish Navy calls their ”most emblematic vessel”, Juan Sebastian Elcano found itself amidst the drug trafficking scandal, The Guardian reports.
Three crew members already had a close call with the police in the Port of Galicia three weeks ago, when the ship was detained under suspicion of alleged sale of 20kg (44lbs) of cocaine while the ship was stationed in New York. The inspection at that time yielded no results.
the year Juan Sebastián Elcano tall ship was built
However, an extensive search carried out by authorities in the Port of Cadiz proved much more fruitful. The vessel was inspected upon arrival from a six-month journey which included a call in Columbia, which is where the authorities suspect the cocaine was loaded.
The authorities are keeping investigation open in an attempt to find out whether the tall ship was used for drug smuggling before, as well as to determine if the three jailed crew members, who if found guilty face up to six years in prison, were the only ones involved in the illicit trafficking.
World Maritime News Staff; August 7, 2014; Image: DMYC