On February 14, 2021, the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) and the Federal Police intercepted a catamaran sailboat that was approaching international waters. The vessel was crossing the northeastern coast of Brazil at night, carrying 2.2 tons of drugs, distributed in more than 70 waterproof bags.
The sailboat, bound for Europe, was intercepted 270 kilometers from Recife, capital of Pernambuco state. MB patrol vessel Araguari conducted the boarding procedure, with support from service members and police officers on speedboats, who escorted the vessel to the port of Recife.
Authorities arrested the five men onboard, all of them Brazilian, and charged them with international drug trafficking and racketeering.
Authorities remanded the five criminals in custody on February 17. “It should be noted that a total of 2.2 tons of cocaine was seized, a cargo worth millions, and which seizure differed from routine seizure. This shows the financial power involved and, provided the nature of the drug, how hazardous this criminal behavior is to society,” said federal Judge Carolina Malta during the hearing.
The Navy and Federal Police operation was made possible thanks to joint intelligence exchange and operational coordination between Brazilian authorities and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre, headquartered in Portugal, and the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency.
“This operation strengthens the guidelines of agencies responsible for combating transnational crimes in the country, when it comes to mutual cooperation and information exchanges with international institutions, aiming to identify large criminal organizations that operate in Brazil,” said the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, in a statement to the press.