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From Brazil to Spain, how Algeria’s port of Oran fits into the cocaine drug trade

By Rania Hamdi
Posted on Monday, 5 July 2021 10:35

Port of Oran, Algeria Michael Runkel/SIPA

In Algeria, nearly half a tonne of cocaine was intercepted off the coast of Oran at the end of June, in a case reminiscent of other drug seizures that have taken place in the region. One of them involved Kamel Chikhi (aka “the butcher”).

On 30 June, the indictment chamber of the Court of Algiers examined the case of the 701kg of cocaine seized on 26 May 2018 from the MC Vega Mercury, in the port of Oran.

Although the court validated the investigation of this case, it did not reveal why such a historic quantity of cocaine was on the vessel in the first place. This dossier was soon prioritised after the coastguard intercepted, during the night of 26 June to 27 June, 490kg of white powder that was found floating off Oran’s coast.

Grey and black bags – that had been attached to the buoys with ropes – caught the attention of some fishermen, who raised the alarm. They had probably been put there by the drug traffickers, after being informed that the ship carrying the cocaine was about to be searched.