Recife, Brazil, Apr 19 (EFE).- Authorities in Brazil and Portugal arrested nine people Tuesday following a year-long investigation of a sophisticated drug trafficking organization, the Brazilian Federal Police (PF) said.
Seven people were taken into custody in the Brazilian states of Bahia, Pernambuco, Sao Paulo, Rondonia, and Mato Grosso, while two other individuals were apprehended in Porto and Braga, Portugal.
“Operation Discovery” was launched in February 2021 after police discovered nearly 600 kgs (1,321 lbs) of cocaine hidden in the fuselage of a Portuguese-operated Dassault Falcon 900 executive jet when the pilot made a re-fueling stop in Salvador, capital of Bahia, the PF said in a statement.
Owned by a Portuguese air-taxi firm, the plane was carrying Joao Loureiro, former president of Porto’s Boavista FC soccer club, but he was not involved in any criminal activity, according to the statement.
The smuggling ring comprised pilots, mechanics, and support staff, while foreign exchange traders handled the financial arrangements.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration collaborated with the investigation, the PF said.
Brazilian media identified one of those arrested Tuesday as Nilton Borgatto, who recently resigned as Mato Grosso’s secretary of Science, Technology, and Innovation to run for a seat in the federal Congress in the October general election.
Borgatto was formerly mayor of Gloria D’Oeste, a small town near the border with Bolivia. EFE wgm/dr