MADRID Spanish police seized more than two tons of cocaine from a ship with a Venezuelan flag in the Atlantic Ocean and arrested the seven crew members, Spain's interior ministry said on Monday.
The operation, carried out alongside the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the UK's National Crime Agency and Portuguese police, took place earlier this month, on May 4.
The seven people on board were Venezuelan nationals, the ministry said, adding that a gun had also been seized alongside 2400 kg of cocaine. The vessel, a small, rusted fishing boat according to images distributed by police, has since been towed to Spain's Canary Islands.
Separately, a shipment of 5.5 tons of cocaine destined for Spain was intercepted off the coast of Ecuador, and 24 people were arrested in that operation, the interior ministry also said on Monday.
The shipment was being organized by a drugs ring based in Galicia, in northern Spain, and two people were arrested in Madrid and another two in Vigo by Spanish police.
The other 20, including one Spaniard, were arrested on board the cargo ship by Ecuadorian police, who intercepted it before its planned passage through the Panama Canal on its way to Spain, the interior ministry said.
(Reporting by Sarah White, editing by Larry King)