Five arrested in cocaine bust off Spain's Canary Islands

MADRID, April 17 (Reuters) - Five people were arrested when a fishing boat carrying nearly three tonnes of cocaine was intercepted off the Canary Islands, Spanish police said.

The AKT 1 was stopped on April 13 by a Spanish coastguard patrol about 300 nautical miles south of the Spanish archipelago as it tried to pass itself off as another fishing boat.

Spanish police seized 2.9 tonnes of cocaine, estimated to have a street value of 72 million euros ($77.80 million), which had been hidden in one of the fuel tanks.

The boat was returned to Gran Canaria on Saturday and the five detainees were remanded in custody in Las Palmas.

"When we boarded, (officers) observed the fishing boat was transporting a significant number of bundles usually used for cocaine trafficking, so the five crew members of the boat - four of Turkish nationality and a Georgian citizen - were immediately arrested," a spokesman for the Spanish Civil Guard said.

($1 = 0.9254 euros)

Reporting by Graham Keeley; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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