Senegal Seizes 798 kg of Cocaine Hidden in Cars On Ro-Ro

June 28: Senegal has seized 798 kg of cocaine hidden inside new cars on a ro-ro travelling from Brazil, the customs authority said on Sunday, the latest in a series of large seizures off the West African coast this year.

It said the cocaine was discovered overnight inside 15 cars that the vessel, Grimaldi’s ro-ro GRANDE NIGERIA was transporting. The seizure occurred while the GRANDE NIGERIA was anchored at port in the capital Dakar. Four cars with cocaine bags hidden inside were bound for Hamburg, Germany, and 11 for Tema, Ghana.

Officials were reportedly tipped off by whistleblowers who had been approached by smugglers with an offer to assist them in clearing cars. At least two persons who were accompanying the car shipment were arrested, as well as at least two Senegal nationals in port. There are also unconfirmed reports that some of the vessel’s crew have been arrested.

The discovery follows the seizure the previous Wednesday of 238 kg of cocaine smuggled from Brazil in a similar manner through Dakar’s port.

The vessel has been previously involved in cocaine smuggling. On August 07 2018 authorities discovered that 1.2 tons of cocaine transported in suitcases was being transported onto the vessel in Santos, Brazil. (marinebulletin)

Drug smugglers use West Africa as a transhipment point for cocaine en route from South America to Europe. Last week, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said 3.4 tonnes of cocaine were seized in Africa in 2017, back up to 2013 levels after falling to 1.2 tonnes in 2015, although the data likely underestimates the extent of drug trafficking on the continent.

Seizures in West Africa are on the rise this year, with several unusually large quantities intercepted. In January, Cape Verde seized 9.5 tonnes of cocaine in one of the region’s largest ever hauls. Two months later, Guinea Bissau recorded its biggest seizure of cocaine when it intercepted 789 kg stashed away in a fish truck.
Senegal’s largest seizure came in 2007, when authorities seized almost 2.5 tonnes of cocaine worth more than $300 million.

Source: Reuters & FleetMon

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