Cruise-ship passengers arrested after more than $2.6 million worth of cocaine was found hidden in chip bags and bowls

MSC CruisesThe MSC Opera cruise ship.
  • Portuguese authorities recently seized 18 kilograms of cocaine from a cruise ship, the UK’s National Crime Agency said in a press release.
  • Twelve people between the ages of 20 and 52 were arrested in Madeira, Portugal, on March 24 as part of the operation, the agency said.
  • It said the cocaine found on the ship could be worth over $US2.6 million and was hidden in chip bags and bowls.

Portuguese authorities recently arrested 12 people after seizing 18 kilograms of cocaine from a cruise ship, the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency said in a press release.

“We believe this operation has seriously disrupted an organised crime group looking to traffick cocaine into the UK and Europe,”the agency tweeted on Thursday.


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The 12 people, between the ages of 20 and 52, were arrested in Madeira, Portugal, on March 24 as part of the operation, the agency said, adding that four were passengers on the MSC Opera cruise ship and six had recently travelled to Portugal from the UK.

The cocaine found on the ship could be worth over $US2.6 million and was hidden in chip bags and bowls, the agency said.

“MSC Cruises confirms that it has closely cooperated with the relevant local authorities for the successful completion of a drug trafficking operation regarding the smuggling by passengers of illegal substances on board its MSC Opera,” an MSC Cruises representative told Business Insider.

Have you worked on a cruise ship? Do you have a story to share? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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