A FREIGHT tanker from Colombia that had already been searched by RGP was seized by Turkish authorities with a haul of just under six kilos of cocaine, and six crew members arrested.
The six crew members of the Portuguese-flagged Sider Venture, including the captain, were arrested after a search yielded 5.95 kilos of the Class A drug among the coal being exported from Colombia.
The arrests came after the vessel sailed into Iskendurun Harbour in the Gulf of Alexandretta on the southern coast of Turkey, near the border with Syria, Turkish press reported.
Embarrassingly for Royal Gibraltar Police, the ship had been searched by armed police in a two-day multi-agency operation just two weeks ago but they failed to find anything incriminating.
The vessel was released on September 17 to continue its journey to Turkey where authorities seem to have been more meticulous since there is no suggestion that the ship had stopped anywhere else on its onward journey.
A spokesman for the Royal Gibraltar Policesaid: “We are aware of press reports to the effect that just under six kilos of cocaine have been seized by the Turkish police on the vessel Sider Venture at Iskenderun Bay port.”
“We will cooperate with our Turkish counterparts in any investigation as necessary.”
In better news for law and order in the territory, this week a man was arrested with 900 cartons of contraband tobacco.
HM Customs Enforcement Unit made the haul on Tuesday night when they saw a car driving without lights at speed in the area around Emersons Place.
A stop-and-search revealed 36 half cases of cigarettes in bin liners, with a total of 900 cartons being seized. The driver was arrested and a locally registered vehicle impounded.
The suspect was bailed to reappear on December 16.