Twelve people were busted for smuggling $2.6 million worth of cocaine disguised in chip bags and bowls onto a MSC Cruise from the Caribbean to Portugal last week.
The National Crime Agency, based in the United Kingdom, announced on Twitter Thursday that six men and six women were arrested in the alleged drug smuggling ring in Portugal on March 24.
"Twelve arrested, 18kg cocaine seized from cruise ship after joint operation involving NCA & (Judicial Police of Portugal) in #Madeira," the National Crime Agency tweeted.
The suspects, who are between the ages of 20 to 52, were detained when the MSC Opera cruise ship docked in Madeira, Portugal. Four were passengers on the cruise, while authorities say six suspects recently arrived on the island from the U.K.
The cocaine was discovered in ceramic bowls and chip bags, including several Cheetos Puffs bags. Authorities also seized cash and about a dozen cellphones in the bust, according to a news release.
“We believe this operation will have seriously disrupted an organised crime group looking to traffick cocaine into the UK and Europe," Allan Round, NCA operations manager at the Joint Border Intelligence Unit, said in the release.
"Cocaine generates huge profits for criminal networks who are also involved in street violence and exploitation, so stopping it will help reduce the harm caused by them."
All 12 suspects will face prosecution in Portuguese courts.
By Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
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