Russian sailors held in Cape Verde on suspicion of smuggling nine tonnes of cocaine

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Cape Verde police have detained 11 Russian sailors for the suspected smuggling of more than nine tonnes of cocaine, Russian news agencies reported citing local police.

RIA news agency said the ship ESER, sailing under Panama’s flag, was heading to Tangier in Morocco from Panama. It was detained after it stopped at Porto Praia following the death of a crew member.

The Russian embassy in Cape Verde, an archipelago off the coast of West Africa, declined immediate comment when contacted by phone on Saturday. According to Refinitive data, the vessel ESER remains in Porto Praia.

Last February, six suspected drug traffickers were arrested after 389 kg (858 pounds) of cocaine was found in the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Hugh Lawson