EIGHT members of an organised criminal gang were arrested after their boat, SEEFUCHS, was boarded 100 miles off the Spanish coast.
Five drug smugglers were arrested with 15 tonnes of hashish en route from Morocco.
Three more were arrested and €60,000 in cash was seized after five house raids on the mainland.
Agencies involved in the operation included the Spanish Civil Guard and Tax Agency, the Portuguese Judicial Police and Europol.
The investigation began in 2020 after Spanish authorities uncovered an organised crime group (OCG) smuggling hashish from Morocco to Spain using a number of different vessels.
Europol instigated the gang’s financial transactions, mapping out a complex network spread out throughout Spain and Portugal.
One vessel in particular became the focus of investigations, the ‘SEEFUCHS’, acquired by the gang in November, 2020.
The vessel was taken to the Portuguese town of Portimao, where they changed its colour and increased its storage capacity.
In June, the adapted boat set sail for Morocco, under close surveillance from law enforcement agencies.
Once the drugs shipment was loaded for the return journey, the gang headed back towards the Gibraltar Strait.
The vessel was stormed some 100 nautical miles south of the Spanish coast.
During the assault, five arrests were made and a 15 tonne haul of hashish was seized from the boat’s cargo.
A luxury yacht which was also used for drug transportation was later seized in Lanzarote.
A Europol specialist was deployed to Spain during the raids to support the authorities with the cross-checking in real time of operational information gathered during the raids carried out on that day.