MONTEVIDEO – The Uruguayan navy seized 1.4 tons of cocaine and arrested the six Colombian and three Nicaraguan crewmen of the Panamanian-flagged fishing boat Ferber, which may have been sailing to Europe, navy spokesmen said on Sunday.
The boat sailed from a port in Peru and arrived in Montevideo a week ago.
Navy personnel became suspicious during a routine inspection when they noticed the Ferber was a fishing boat that did not have any fishing gear, navy spokesmen said.
A check of the crew’s paperwork showed that some of the men had prior criminal records for drug trafficking.
Officials asked a court for permission to conduct a more extensive inspection of the boat, the navy said.
Navy personnel found drugs that were “pretty well hidden” in the hold and above the fuel tanks behind false walls, the navy spokesmen said.
The cocaine appears to have been headed for Europe, but investigators have not determined the exact country.
The fishing boat’s captain, a Colombian national, and the other eight crewmen are under arrest and will be turned over to a judge who handles organized crime cases, the navy said.