Pubdate: Thu, 07 Sep 2000
Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Copyright: 2000 Times Newspapers Ltd.
Contact:  PO Box 496, London E1 9XW, United Kingdom
Fax: +44-(0)20-782 5658
Author: Giles Tremlett


Spanish police blamed their British counterparts yesterday for being unable
to find up to ten tons of cocaine reported to be on board a cargo vessel
seized in what was billed as the biggest ever single drugs bust in Europe.

The Spanish drugs officers who led last Thursday's spectacular high-seas
raid on the Panamanian-registered Privilege cargo vessel admitted that they
had still not found a trace of the cocaine.

They have now reportedly been joined in Las Palmas, the Canary Isles port,
by the undercover British drugs officers who tipped them off that the
Privilege had picked up drugs in the mouth of Venezuela's Orinoco river.

The Spanish officers said that British police were responsible for tracking
the vessel by satellite during its voyage.

Britain's National Criminal Intelligence Service yesterday declined to
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