Greeks held for Atlantic cocaine

In a joint operation with Greek narcotics officials yesterday, Spanish coast guard in the Atlantic Ocean seized a Greek trawler found to be carrying an estimated 150 million euros’ worth of cocaine. Two of the five seamen on board the Togo-flagged Irene – who were all arrested – are Greek nationals. They were identified as Sofoklis Triandafyllidis, 55, and Minodoros Vezyrdzis, 59, who, according to initial reports, is one of the ship’s two Greek owners. Police are now seeking Panayiotis Mavroudis, 59, who is allegedly Vezyrdzis’s partner. The Spanish coast guard who boarded the 33-meter Irene 968 kilometers (600 miles) southwest of the Canary Islands found the vessel to be carrying 2.5 tons of cocaine. The operation followed a tip-off from the Greek Merchant Marine Ministry, which kept the Irene under satellite surveillance. The trawler, which set out from a Dutch port in February and is understood to have been heading for a European Union harbor when stopped, is heading under escort for the Canaries.