Saturday, May 21

Drug. Cargo loaded with cocaine: despite three collisions, it still contains secrets

The “Trudy” never stops revealing its secrets. This cargo ship flying the flag of Liberia had been intercepted by French customs between Calais and Dunkirk on October 1 with more than a ton of cocaine on board. Authorized to leave with a new crew, he had been boarded on October 26 in Rotterdam by Dutch customs, who had also found on board, well hidden, 529 additional kilos of cocaine. In the meantime, a mysterious commando had attacked him in Dunkirk in order to get their hands – in vain – on some of the goods…

According to The Parisian, the sailors of the “Trudy” are interviewed this month to define the responsibilities of each. The DNA of two Filipino sailors made it possible to prove that they had participated in the handling of the bales of cocaine. In the cabin of one of them, a telephone was found, the operation of which revealed a conversation with a certain “boss”, probably based in Brazil and involved in this large-scale traffic . A look back at this seizure which gradually turned into an international thriller.

A first boarding by French customs officers

On October 1, thanks to American intelligence, French Customs boarded the “Trudy”, a bulk carrier registered in Liberia, in the English Channel, and diverted it to Dunkirk (North). Officially, this ship is transporting 20,000 tonnes of chalk and kaolin loaded in Brazil to Antwerp (Belgium). During their search, the customs officers will however get their hands on another type of white powder.

In the hull is concealed 1.1 tons of cocaine, hidden in forty bags behind the bulkhead of the ship’s gym, for a resale value close to 80 million euros. The entire crew, sailors of various nationalities, were arrested. 19 indictments will follow.

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A second boarding by criminals

On October 10, while the boat was immobilized in the port of Dunkirk, theoretically under the surveillance of French justice, and was preparing to set off again with a new crew, a commando of criminals burst in and took the sailors hostage.

These six or seven hooded individuals, armed with sticks and hammers, tie up the new crew and, under threat, ask the new captain to show them a door, designated in a photo. But at dawn, the hunt having yielded nothing, these men, who speak “approximate English” and express themselves to each other in French and Arabic, leave empty-handed. The crew members are left for a good scare. The bandits have not been found to date.

Never two without three…

The “Trudy”, barely authorized to return to sea, was checked on its arrival in Rotterdam (Netherlands) on October 27. The Dutch authorities then discover with amazement new packets of cocaine hidden at the bottom of a hold, for more than 520 additional kilos. Could this be the reason for the commando attack on October 10? This cargo seems to have escaped both the vigilance of French customs officers and that of drug traffickers…

Who was this ton and a half of South American coke promised to? According to the JDD, The packages seized in Dunkirk were based on four models: a pagoda in a red circle evoking the Japanese flag; a drawing of the Burj al-Arab, the famous hotel in Dubai; the inscription London on a background of Union Jack; an Eiffel Tower framed by the words Paris and France.

According to Le Parisien, in a summary written on December 30, the police are surprised by the choice of navigation of the bulk carrier: contrary to its habit, the “Trudy” crossed the Cape Verde islands instead of circumventing them. He was then cruising near “La Rosa”, a yacht which was boarded in mid-October by the Senegalese navy… with two tonnes of coke on board. The drug loaves seized in “La Rosa” “carried logos identical to some of those discovered on the Trudy”. We must therefore expect other developments in this case with ever-increasing ramifications.

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