The police also seized over 19 kilograms of cocaine worth around two million euros.
In a statement, the force said the suspects, who are aged 27 to 35, were part of a “highly organised” group with a “well defined hierarchy.”
The drugs were brought in from Venezuela on commercial flights and distributed throughout greater Lisbon, in Odivelas, Loures, Lisbon and Amadora, as well as in northern and central Portugal.
According to police sources, two of the suspects were ground staff at Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado airport, working for handling company Groundforce, and were caught red-handed.
The first arrest was made in Charneca da Caparica, Almada, and the others at Lisbon airport.
The bust comes following an 18-month investigation spearheaded by the Loures police department which gained pace over the past two months.
A police spokesperson said he believes that with the culmination of this operation the organised group’s activity would cease.
“Within the existing structure this was the highest level, but there were lower sub-levels that would carry out the disposal of the product to later [directly sell] to the consumer in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area and in the central and northern areas of the country”, said the Commander of the Police Division of Loures, Jorge Resende da Silva.
Estimates are that if the drugs had reached the streets it could have earned the traffickers hundreds of thousands of euros.
All of the suspects are Portuguese and have police records for similar crimes.