By William Jones, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Authorities in Brazil have arrested 23 people and seized 3.7 tons of cocaine in the port of Santos, on the southern side of São Paulo. Military police say that the drugs gang was an international group who were shipping the pure cocaine in containers from Brazil to Europe, Cuba and Africa.

Cocaine bust Santos, SP, Brazil News
Authorities have arrested 23 people and seized 3.7 tons of cocaine in the port of Santos, São Paulo, photo by Divulgação/Policia Federal.

According to the federal police, this was one of the biggest ever drug busts in the Port of Santos with the arrests coming in Santos, São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul.  

Authorities also found that the drugs were being transported by criminals who arranged the placement of drugs in backpacks and bags, which were inserted into the containers by private employees, without the knowledge of the owners of the ships or cargoes.

Also seized was €$230,000 (R$720,000), ten vehicles, a boat, nineteen handguns and two rifles. Gangs, in which several government officials have reportedly been implicated, were being investigated since 2013 through two operations, one called Hulk and the other called Oversea.

The Hulk operation focused its investigation on a group in São Paulo who bought drugs in from Bolivia and transported to Brazil by the border with Paraguay and continuing the process to Europe through the port of Santos.

The Oversea operation was focused on the group that operated the illicit drug inserts on ships and containers that left Brazil at the port. According to the delegate Reinaldo Sperandio, there was some facilitation by employees of the port terminals and the federal police are sure that the gang had a well thought out and well planned scheme.

This was the biggest anti-drug campaign on the São Paulo coastline carried out by Brazilian authorities of the year where 43 arrest warrants and eighty search warrants were delivered.

Read more (in Portuguese)

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