Newspapers in Brazil are reporting that yesterday the federal police arrested sixteen passengers aboard the Costa Favolosa cruise ship who were reportedly carrying 300 kilos of cocaine in their luggage.

The Costa cruise ship was in the port in Santos, Brazil, on the coast of São Paulo, en route to Europe.  The newspapers reported that ten Brazilians, three Belgians and three French (eight women and eight men) all under the age of 30 years of age, were arrested and taken into custody.

The Costa ship security personnel reportedly discovered the drugs during an electronic inspection of the baggage. Each piece of luggage also contained around $1,000, which was believe to be an an advance for the transportation of the cocaine. 

The cruise ship was given permission to sail following the arrests.

The Costa Favolosa (photo right) sailed from Sao Paulo, Brazil yesterday and arrived in Rio De Janeiro today. The Costa ship is scheduled to arrive in three ports in Brazil – Salvador De Bahia on March 30th, Maceio on March 31st, and Recife on April 1st – before sailing to Tenerife (Canary Islands) on April 8th and Arrecife (Canary Islands) on April 9th. The ship was then scheduled to arrive in Malaga, Spain on April 11th, Barcelona, Spain on April 13th,  Marseille, France on April 14th, and Savona, Italy on April 15th.

Prior Costa Cruises Drug Busts

For a two year period from 2012 to 2014, as many as thirty-four people who posed as cruise ship passengers on Costa ships participated in a smuggling network that transported hashish from Morocco to Brazil and cocaine from South America to Europe, according to the The Local newspaper in France.

The article also mentioned that the the ill-fated Costa Concordia was reportedly carrying a huge shipment of Mafia-owned cocaine when she sank in January 2012.

We previously reported that several people were arrested with over 16 kilos of cocaine while disembarking the Costa Pacifica in Malaga following a Transatlantic cruise from South America several years ago.

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Photo credit: Bag of drugs – G1 Santos; and and Costa Favolosa – Andrsvoss, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.