Tags: Feds | Probing | Russia-Colombia | Cocaine | Link

Feds Probing Russia-Colombia Cocaine Link

Tuesday, 15 May 2001 12:00 AM

The Coast Guard seized a fishing trawler flying the flag of Belize this month after some 13 tons of cocaine worth an estimated $500 million was found hidden in a fuel tank.

In a somewhat surprising twist, a crew of 10 Russians and Ukrainians, rather than Latin Americans, was found aboard the Svesda Maru. The nationality of the sailors, who spoke both Russian and Spanish, led to suspicions that the cocaine was bound for the European drug market as part of an arrangement between Russian organized crime gangs and Colombian cocaine traffickers, the San Diego Union-Tribune said Tuesday.

The newspaper said that, according to unnamed U.S. officials, Russian mobsters and Colombian traffickers have joined forces in an arrangement that swaps cocaine for a wide variety of Soviet-bloc weapons and aircraft.

The Coast Guard boarded the Svesda Maru on May 3 off Mexico's Pacific Coast, north of the Panama Canal, which would indicate the vessel was headed for a North American port unless it intended to sail all the way to Russia's Pacific coast.

Mexican media has said that the Tijuana-based Arellano-Felix gang probably would have had to sanction the Svesda Maru's final voyage, if its destination was Mexico or California.

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The Coast Guard seized a fishing trawler flying the flag of Belize this month after some 13 tons of cocaine worth an estimated $500 million was found hidden in a fuel tank. In a somewhat surprising twist, a crew of 10 Russians and Ukrainians, rather than Latin...
Feds,Probing,Russia-Colombia,Cocaine,Link
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2001-00-15
Tuesday, 15 May 2001 12:00 AM
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