MONTEVIDEO – A Panamanian-flagged fishing vessel seized by Uruguay after authorities found more than a ton of cocaine on board was sold at auction to a Spanish company for $100,000.
The money “will be used, as provided by law, for prevention, treatment and social re-insertion of troubled drug users and for the agencies involved in the seizure,” said Elena Lagomarsino, head of the Uruguayan National Drug Board’s Seizure Fund.
“We have a fleet operating in different areas around the world and the idea is to have this ship operating here (in Montevideo),” said Jorge Etchart, who represents food services company Grupo Amaro in Uruguay.
The vessel was auctioned two years after it was intercepted with 1.4 tons of cocaine on board.
“It is an asset under court proceedings and there is no final sentence, but under Law 18.494 the auction can proceed to prevent deterioration and depreciation of its value, which also eases administrative issues and port management,” Lagomarsino said.
This is the third drug-smuggling vessel auctioned in Uruguay.
“There is a message here for organizations dedicated to illicit trafficking and asset laundering, and it is that we will go after the means and the assets resulting from those activities,” she said.