Three men, aged between 40 and 60, were arrested early this Tuesday, off the southern coast of mainland Portugal, on strong suspicion of drug trafficking, the National Maritime Authority told Notícias ao Minuto.

According to the same source, during the joint operation by the National Maritime Authority, the Portuguese Navy and the Portuguese Air Force, two high-speed boats and nine bales of hashish were seized, with a total weight of around 315 kilos.

However, according to the authorities, other suspicious vessels managed to escape.

"Following aerial monitoring carried out by an Air Force aircraft, seven high-speed vessels suspected of illicit transport of narcotics by sea were located, in the south of the mainland, and a joint operation was immediately launched, articulated between the Regional Command of the Maritime Police of the South and the Navy, with vessels of the Maritime Police and the Navy being immediately activated to the location", reads the statement shared in the meantime on the National Maritime Authority page.

A pursuit and attempt to approach the suspicious vessels was then initiated and it was possible to intercept two high-speed vessels, with dozens of fuel drums on board, which were promptly seized.

After the approach, three men were arrested on strong suspicion of committing the crime of illicit drug trafficking.

Nine bales of narcotics were also collected from the water, with a total of around 315 kilos of hashish, which will be, according to the National Maritime Authority, later handed over to the Judiciary Police (PJ).

In just a week and a half, 19 people have been arrested and nine high-speed boats that contained more than 13 tons of hashish were seized.