Drug flights from Morocco have changed flight trajectories to reach southern Europe, flying into Portugal over Sagres, and up the Costa Vicentina.
The MO is to fly low, below habitual radar catchment – and then ‘make the drop’ close to a motorway.
An operation along these lines however was detected earlier this week by the Air Force, which scrambled two F16s (fighter jets) and a P-3C CUP+.
By being able to monitor the incoming flight in real time, its location was sent to ‘competent authorities’, which ‘raced to the scene’ close to the A26 motorway.
The upshot was that GNR police reached the point close to Ferreira do Alentejo where two men were waiting in a vehicle to gather up the hashish, thrown from the plane. They made off first in the car “then by foot”, writes Correio da Manhã. They are still “at large”, meaning police failed to keep up with them.
The plane landed in an area close to Ferreira do Alentejo. CM does not explain what happened to it, nor does the brief report on this incident on the website of the Air Force.
The Air Force however descibes the national air defence system as “composed of sensors and a command and control system, responsible for monitoring national airspace. This system is integrated in NATO’s air defence system”.
CM explains that these drug routes are used by Spanish and Moroccan traffickers – the latter connected to a cartel known as Sinaloa, which uses Mexican pilots “used to make these illegal flights in the United States”.
In 2021, five illegal landing strips used by these groups were discovered in southern Spain. This is what has led to the opening of new routes, some of them using Portugal.