The smugglers were arrested while disembarking the liner at the port of Valencia (Spain) on Sunday, April 10, following a Transatlantic voyage from Brazil (the port of Santos/Sao Paulo, a notorious hub for the smuggling of Bolivian cocaine).
According to police, the drug bust, worth 3+ million euros, had been found due to the K-9 narcotics detection dog. The dog pointed to a total of 15 suitcases that were later thoroughly inspected by customs officials who found the narcotic. Police and Customs officers identified the owners of the luggage, which led to the arrest of 4 men and 6 women, all Brazilian nationals, aged 23-50.
The cocaine with 70% purity had been hidden inside double bottom in a number of suitcases offloaded at the port and ready for inspection.
The smugglers traveled as couples and pretended to be on vacation. They are believed to be part of a couple of different criminal groups choosing the same way of smuggling drugs destined for Spain and Portugal. The first group was arrested with 20 and the 2nd group with 34 kilos of cocaine. The drugs were distributed in suitcases, each with ~3,5 kilos of the narcotic.
For more MSC Seaside incidents and accidents see the ship's CruiseMinus page.