Cocaine shipment worth over EUR 150 million seized en route to Europe

On 30 November, a Brazilian vessel carrying over 4.6 tonnes of cocaine was intercepted by the French Navy as a result of intelligence activities underway between Europol, MAOC-N and the authorities in Brazil, France, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

Heading towards Europe, the 21 meter-long vessel was intercepted in international waters off the coast of Sierra Leone. Its illegal shipment is believed to be worth in excess of EUR 150 million.

An investigation is underway to identify the criminal groups involved on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Participating authorities 

  • Brazil: Federal Police (Polícia Federal)
  • France: National Police (Police Nationale – OFAST), National Navy (Marine Nationale)
  • United Kingdom: National Crime Agency (NCA) 
  • United States: US Drug Enforcement Administration (US DEA) 
  • Europol: European Serious Organised Crime Centre 
  • Maritime Analysis and Operation Centre – Narcotics (MAOC – N)

The cocaine infrastructure 

Underpinning the drug trafficking activities is a transport infrastructure that connects Latin American source countries with areas of consumption.

Europol’s unique capabilities has positioned the Agency as the place where such crucial intelligence emerges. Europol currently hosts at its headquarters over 250 liaison officers from over 50 countries and organisations, which sees law enforcement from countries across the world working side by side to fight the most dangerous criminal networks. Coupled with Europol’s work into the encrypted means of communication used by criminals, this coordinated intelligence-led approach is delivering tangible results in the fight against maritime drugs trafficking.