Incident or not - the death of one of the crew members of the cargo ship named ESER, flying the Panamanian flag and composed of Russian citizens - led the scientific police to 260 bales of cocaine, which were hidden inside containers on the ship. Eleven Russians have been arrested and will be handed over to the Court of Praia. The case is still under investigation.
The Judicial Police provided themselves with a Judicial Warrant entered the ESER freighter for the first time at around 3.30 p.m. (Cape Verde time). The ship came from South America and was destined to Tanger, Morocco.
However, according to the Judiciary Police, "the cargo ship made a stopover at the Port of Praia, to comply with legal procedures related to the death, on board, of one of the crew members". This attitude of the crew members surprised the capeverdean authorities who work with another hypothesis, that possibly the mafia would leave a part of the drug in the country before continuing their trip to Morocco.
But, the PJ had already received information that it was a vessel suspected of carrying an undetermined amount of narcotics. The police operation was thus triggered following an investigative process, resulting from the exchange of operational information with the MAOC -N, (Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre - Narcotics), based in Lisbon.
In addition to the technical support of the Portuguese Judiciary Police, in the operation of search, unloading, packaging, transport and custody of the seized product, the Judiciary Police counted on the cooperation of the French National Police, as well as the usual collaboration of national security forces, namely the Armed Forces, the Maritime Police, and also ENAPOR and the Port of Praia.
"The traffickers' boats are always registered in Panama, Liberia or Togo, because they do not pay taxes for it. And the great majority have as ports of call, Las Palmas, Tangier or Dakhla (Morocco), where people are easily corrupted and can facilitate the exchange of boats and containers. And this is how the drug enters Europe"
From Morocco to Europe
The case of the ESER ship, moored in the port of Praia, is still under investigation by the Judiciary Police of Cape Verde, and not known when it will be released to continue its journey to its country of origin. However, when contacted, an international analyst in organized crime explained to CENOZO that the Russian mafia, like others, usually registers their boats connected in Panama, hence the Panamanian flag.
"The traffickers' boats are always registered in Panama, Liberia or Togo, because they do not pay taxes for it. And the great majority have as ports of call, Las Palmas, Tangier or Dakhla (Morocco), where people are easily corrupted and can facilitate the exchange of boats and containers. And this is how the drug enters Europe", he underlined,
In the specific case of the drugs seized in Cape Verde, an international security specialist believes that the ESER did not have these mid-Atlantic islands as destination. The destination was Morocco, where it was probably going to transfer the drugs to another ship and take them to Europe. The Russian mafia, he points out, has long been referred to in international drug trafficking and money laundering. More, is also considered one of the most "violent" by the means it uses to dispel whoever is crosses in his way, not afraid to kill anyone".
Regarding to West Africa, of which Cape Verde is member, our source reports that this region has been under the surveillance of the British and American authorities, which holds 50% of the information in such operations. It is followed by the French because they have police in the Caribbean and because they have warships and surveillance boats in those waters.
For Cape Verde, this case could be an alert to the Cape Verdean authorities, since international security experts have reported too often, he Russian mafia-linked citizens have been operating in this small country, specifically on the islands of Sal and St Vicente.