The figures were released at an initiative held at the Commercial Pier in Faro, with the presence of the Minister of National Defence, Helena Carreiras, and the Minister of Justice, Catarina Sarmento e Castro, as part of the “Closer Government”.
In the first two months of the current year, the maritime authorities recorded the seizure of 16.48 tonnes of narcotic drugs (hashish), practically the same number reported in the entire year of 2022 (16.52 tonnes of narcotic hashish and cocaine), according to Commander José Sousa Luís, spokesman for the Navy and the AMN.
In January and February, the Navy and AMN carried out 33 actions to combat drug trafficking along the entire Portuguese coast, some with the support of the Air Force and the Judiciary Police, compared to 58 in 2021 and 74 in 2022.
If last year, six people were arrested or identified in these operations to combat drug trafficking, carried out mostly on the south coast of the country, in 2023 that number already rises to 23, mostly of Spanish and Moroccan nationalities.
As for the number of vessels seized by the authorities, there were 15 in all of last year and, for now, in 2023 there are 11.
The maritime authorities relate this increase in drug trafficking not only to the reinforcement of combat actions but also to the fact that, in Spain, the supervision of speedboats used for this type of criminal activity has been tightened in legal terms, so traffickers have been looking for other areas to access the coast.
Three fast inspection boats, three fast action boats, three unmanned autonomous vehicles, three boarding platoon teams, a helicopter, an ocean patrol vessel, a submarine, and a frigate have been some of the Navy assets involved in combating drug trafficking, in addition to high-speed vessels of the Maritime Police and Air Force aircraft that detect suspicious activities outside the Portuguese territorial sea.