Nine accused in network that brought cocaine in bananas to Barcelos

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They began by creating a history of legal imports and when they succeeded they started bringing drugs into Portugal in fruit containers from South America. The group was caught by the Judiciary Police in 2022 with 822 kilos of cocaine and is charged with aggravated drug trafficking and criminal association.

The network was made up of nine individuals and was highly organized. Each one had a “differentiated and fundamental” role, the Public Prosecutor’s Office reveals in the indictment that JN consulted. The group had been operating since at least mid-2020 and was dismantled after two years of investigation by the PJ following an anonymous tip-off.

Manuel G., 56, a Spanish businessman in consultancy and security, would be the helmsman and together with Adan G., Eugénio T., Rui M. and José V. devised a plan to introduce “large quantities of cocaine” into Portugal by sea, in fruit containers, accuses the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Adan, a Spaniard, was in charge of raising money, while Eugénio, 68, from Portugal, was responsible for organizing the “setting up of front companies”. The latter used several phone cards “to avoid” having his calls traced by the authorities.

José, a Brazilian customs agent, was tasked with dealing with bureaucratic issues related to port and customs authorities. For his part, 48-year-old Rui made his company available to receive the drug shipments. According to the indictment, this company had never imported fruit before, so the first step was to create a business history with several legal purchases of bananas, so as not to arouse suspicion.

Once this appearance of legality had been created, the group imported four containers of bananas from Ecuador through the port of Leixões, containing 699 packages of cocaine weighing 822 kilos.

The containers were cleared through customs and transported to the warehouse in Barcelos, where four “operatives”, all foreigners, tried to remove the cocaine from the containers. The unloading of the containers was watched from outside by Adan, who communicated with the operatives via a walkie talkie. They were arrested in the act and other separate investigations are underway, particularly into the financiers.

The packages of cocaine were wrapped in thick, metallized film to “elude” the x-rays and scanners used by the authorities at the ports.

Background

Manuel, Adan and one of the operatives already have criminal records outside Portugal for fraud, drug trafficking, theft, physical harm and possession of unauthorized weapons.

The group even imported a container of mangoes in June 2022, which was destroyed because the fruit was unfit for consumption. In July of the same year, it imported bananas that had been donated to the Food Bank. The warehouse was not prepared to store this type of merchandise.

Iris Lavan
Iris Lavanhttps://irislavan.com/en/
With a background as a consultant in the medical industry, Iris Lavan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Portugal Pulse. Iris also runs a company in Tel Aviv offering marketing, business development, content creation and public relations services. She holds a degree in economics and management, giving her a solid grounding in business strategy and financial planning. Iris' commitment to Portugal Pulse is reflected not only in her consulting career, but also in her impact on the Portugale media landscape in Israel. She was an interviewer for Hadshot Portugal חדשות פורטוגל, a media outlet that broadcasts news about Portugal in Hebrew, where she provided valuable information on current affairs, healthcare and the economy. Since July 2023, Iris has also been part of the Portugal Pulse team.

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