“Stormy night 2001 on the shore of the island of San Miguel delivered a lot of packages with cocaine. The inhabitants of the island fished them out of the water, resulting in dramatic consequences,” – writes the German magazine Der Spiegel.
Life on the island of são Miguel, part of the Azores archipelago, was a little interesting, says the author of the article Arne Molfenter. Until then, while in June 2001 a course on a secluded volcanic island took a white sailing yacht. The cargo on Board was destined to change the lives of 7.5 thousand islanders on the boat carrying at least 500 kilograms of cocaine.
On the ship heading to the Spanish coast, broken wheel, and man on Board was left with no option but to repair the boat in the port of San Miguel. However, to approach with hundreds of packets of cocaine were too risky, and drove the vessel, the person who presumably was alone on Board, threw out some packages in the sea, and most of them have placed a small rock ledge off the coast of the fishing village of Rabo di Pasi. “Later, Joao Soares, the then chief investigator of the Portuguese police, reported that the packages of cocaine were attached to fishing nets or circuits in the Bay and secured by anchor,” the article says.
The storm intensified, and soon some residents Rabu di Pasi noticed how in a troubled sea in the direction of the pier move strange packages. “According to witnesses, the night dozens of people, from teenagers to grandmothers, ventured on the dangerous pier to catch the packages,” wrote the Spanish newspaper El País.
A few days in San Miguel is literally flooded with cocaine. “Local police could not cope. They were able to seize 400 kg of cocaine and reported that on Board was a maximum of 500 kg of the drug. An absurd statement, wrote Nuno Mendes in the newspaper El País. “This boat could carry up to 3 thousand kg. And no one crosses the Atlantic with little of what he can make,” said the journalist.
“The consequences were dramatic. Some residents of the usually quiet island became drug dealers, but had no clue the market value of the cocaine, nor about the risks of its use. “Many “businessmen” (…) in some cases, sell the coke cups and glasses (…)”, – reported the local English-language newspaper the Portugal News a week later. Some newly traffickers allegedly offered a beer glass of coke for an amount similar to the 20 Euro”, – says the article.
“After making a splash on the catch began to spread rumors, often unproven – for example, about the fact that now the older fishermen in the harbour bars in the morning, add yourself to coffee cocaine as sugar. Others allegedly heard housewife recently paneer fried fish with coke instead of flour.”
Unfortunately, the cocaine was high quality and was soon in the emergency room to local clinics began to receive young people. According to unofficial statistics, in the first three weeks there were a lot of overdoses and at least 20 deaths, reports the publication.
Sicilian Anthony Quinzi, the only person on Board the vessel, did not resist arrest. He had four passports in different names, the article says. July 1, 2001, he escaped from prison but was caught two weeks later and sent to the mainland, where he was later sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“On the island of San Miguel to this day talk about Quincy sometimes as a legend. As a measure to determine the purity of cocaine was established there a unit called “Italian”. Say, due to unexpected catch some of the island’s inhabitants became rich by opening, for example, cafes and bars that still exist”.
According to a former instructor for one of the clinics, cocaine use by residents resulted in disastrous consequences. “The withdrawal was so strong that people took heroin to sleep” she said in a conversation with the Canarian Weekly newspaper. The island supposedly still regularly have to distribute methadone.
“The Azores continue to be an important staging point on the way of narcocontaining from South America to Europe. In early June, 2019 at the port of Faial arrested three men on Board their yacht was discovered 600 kilos of cocaine,” reports Der Spiegel.