An unnamed couple, aged 72 and 70, were arrested after allegedly trying to smuggle £2 million of cocaine onboard a Cruise & Maritime sailing.
Their cabin was searched when the line’s ship Marco Polo arrived in Lisbon from the Caribbean en-route to London; the police found 9kg of cocaine hidden in false bottoms in four cases.
The elderly couple had both paid £3,000 each for their tickets and were remanded in prison following a court appearance the following day.
Both have been described as regular high seas holidaymakers, having enjoyed several other luxury cruises in the past.
Vitor Ananais led the operation for Portugal’s Policia Judiciaria, and has been reported saying: “The man and the woman are English although they don’t live in England but in another European country.
We knew who we were looking for and boarded the cruise ship with a search warrant. We believe the couple were given the drugs in a Caribbean island. We do not know for sure where the cocaine was going to be brought ashore.
The couple were not at all showy and blended in well because most of the other passengers on the liner were elderly.
They were travelling alone. They didn’t try to protest their innocence after their arrests. They haven’t said anything to police as to how the drugs got in their cases.”
A Portuguese police source told The Times: “They had boarded the cruise liner when it docked at the island of St Lucia in the Caribbean. That is where the drugs were brought [on board].
Police arrested them in their cabin. The couple allegedly both have criminal records from Britain but it is not clear for what.”
The police source also said that drugs gangs sometimes try to plant cocaine and/or other illegal substances on elderly people on cruises so that they act as unwitting mules.
Although, in the past it has also been known for pensioners to smuggle drugs in return for a large payment from traffickers.
A spokesperson for CMV commented on the matter: “Cruise & Maritime Voyages do not tolerate any criminal activity or anti-social behaviour on board their ships.”
What are your thoughts on the news today? Have you ever heard of this happening before? Are you impressed with how the Portugese police handled the situation? Leave us your comments below…