Record cocaine haul off Ivory Coast


The Ivory Coast navy seized a record amount of cocaine plastic-wrapped in bundles bearing the tattered logos of French fashion house Louis Vuitton and Pacena Black, a dark beer from Bolivia.

The 411 kg of cocaine destined for Abidjan came from a Spanish-flagged ship spotted by the navy idling 250 km off the coast the navy said in a statement.

The ship offloaded the drugs to a smaller boat picked up by a special unit of the Ivorian navy on Monday the navy said. Five people were taken into custody.

It was not clear where the cocaine originated from or who was responsible for trafficking it.

Camera footage provided by the Ivorian navy showed hundreds of seized packages on tables.

Major drug hauls in Ivory Coast are rare. Over the last 18 months several large cocaine seizures have been made along the West African Atlantic coast, a frequent stopping point for South American cocaine heading to Europe. About 40 tonnes pass through the region annually, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

About 9.5 tons were seized in the island archipelago of Cape Verde last year in one of the biggest hauls ever. Last September, police in Guinea-Bissau seized more than 1.8 tons hidden in flour bags, the biggest in the country’s history.