A Brazilian vessel carrying more than 4.6 tonnes of cocaine, worth over $157.4 million has been intercepted in an operation off the coast of Sierra Leone.

The vessel was intercepted by a French Navy helicopter carrier around 400 miles off the coast of Sierra Leone on 30 November 2022, according to EUROPOL.

The operation came as a result of intelligence sharing between the NCA, US Drug Enforcement Agency and Brazilian Federal Police who have been working together to identify and combat criminal networks involved in drug trafficking between Brazil, Africa and Europe.

The 21 meter-long Brazilian vessel from which the narcotics were seized was headed towards Europe at the time of the interception, according to EUROPOL.

“An investigation is underway to identify the criminal groups involved on either side of the Atlantic Ocean,” Europol said in a statement.

The crew, all Brazilian nationals, were detained and the cocaine was destroyed, according to the National Crime Agency.

The coast of Sierra Leone has recently been a frequent transit for drugs dealers and traffickers.

In July this year, the Sierra Leone Police discovered a 40 foot container allegedly filled with cocaine at Freetown’s Queen Elizabeth II Port. The Container was reported to have originated from the UK and shipped to Sierra Leone.

During the same period, Guinean authorities detained a Sierra Leone-flagged ship containing nearly three tones of cocaine, which was intercepted in the country’s waters.

Several ships have recently been intercepted on the Sierra Leonean waters for involving in illegal activities.