Cruise ship passengers arrested with 54 kilos of cocaine

Ten passengers from the MSC Seaside cruise liner were arrested in Valencia on April 3rd for possession of 54 kilos of cocaine worth more than three million euros.

The liner with its 4,000 passengers and 1,400 crew coked in Valencia on Sunday after traveling from Brazil. According to the authorities, all the luggage was placed in a tent while the passengers passed through passport control.

Customs using sniffer dogs then checked all luggage. The dog reported 15 cases which were then thoroughly checked by customs officials who found the cocaine. Drugs with a purity above 70% were destined for the Spanish and Portuguese markets.

The Office of Analysis and Investigation (ODAIFI) of the Civil Guard and Customs has identified the owners of the luggage resulting from the arrest of the ten four men and six women, all of Brazilian nationality.

Attempting to go unnoticed, the smugglers traveled in pairs posing as holidays, but what they explained was the use of sniffer dogs by customs officers in Valencia.

Passengers of two gangs

The smugglers reportedly belonged to at least two different gangs involved in drug trafficking, with both choosing the same mode to try to import the cocaine unaware that the others were doing the same.

The first group was arrested with 20 kilos and the second group 34 kilos.

The drugs were distributed in 15 suitcases each containing approximately three and a half kilos of narcotics, the woman carrying more luggage than the men. The drugs were apparently concealed in fake suitcase bottoms.

The ten arrested passengers, aged 23 to 50, were charged with cocaine trafficking and membership in a criminal gang.

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