efe-epaLas Palmas, Canary Islands (Spain)

Spanish police have boarded a tugboat in the Atlantic Ocean, seized 1,400 kilos (1.5 short tons) of cocaine and arrested 10 suspects in what the force described as a third blow against Turkish drug mafias in recent months, the Drugs and Organized Crime Unit, Udyco, said Tuesday.

Special operations police (GEO) swooped on a Moldavian-registered tug navigating off the southwestern coast of Spain and carried out the arrests, bringing the total haul of cocaine captured by Spanish forces this year to 15,000 kilos, said Udyco spokesman Santos Bernal.

"This operation was against a Turkish gang," Bernal said. "It is the third police operation carried out against gangs from that country in a short period of time," he added.

The "Breath" tug was escorted by the Spanish Navy ship "Rayo" to Las Palmas naval base in the Canary Islands.

Among those arrested were seven suspects of Turkish nationality, one Georgian and one Bulgarian national, he said.

Bernal said the more than 15 tons of cocaine seized so far this year had come from raids on seven drug-running ships.