Authorities in Gibraltar have seized cannabis worth over €15 million after a high-speed pursuit at sea.
Around 2.6 metric tons of cannabis resin were recovered after a boat carrying the drugs rammed a customs vessel during the chase.
Police approached the boat off the tiny British territory on Spain’s southern tip at 07:30 CEST on Wednesday, a Gibraltar government statement said.
“The vessel was first spotted at Emerson’s Place by a Royal Gibraltar Police land patrol,” authorities said.
A Marine Police vessel attempted to intercept the rigid-hulled inflatable boat, which sped away and began dumping bales of cannabis resin overboard.
A customs vessel then took over the pursuit as the boat’s occupants “continued to jettison more cargo”.
In its attempt to evade arrest, the boat rammed the HMC Searcher causing significant damage, the statement added.
Customs officers eventually boarded the boat, which was still loaded with a large number of bales, and arrested four men.
In total, 65 bales of cannabis resin were seized as part of the operation, with an estimated street value of £13 million (€15.27 million).
Gibraltar’s government has praised the cooperation of police and customs authorities “under very dangerous and risky conditions”.
“The magnificent work of the RGP and HM Customs has today dealt a huge blow to the drug traffickers,” said Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar.
“Gibraltar stands against every aspect of this nefarious trade and our brilliant law enforcement agencies are doing great work in stopping these criminals and demonstrating that the good people of Gibraltar deplore this illicit activity.”