Those Weren’t Sails in the Locker

Authorities seize 280 pounds of cocaine from one of the world’s largest tall ships.

Juan Sebastian Elcano
The tall ship is named for an explorer who worked for Ferdinand Magellan.Scott Hallford

A Spanish Navy training vessel returned from a six-month, 18,000-nautical-mile trip with about 280 pounds of cocaine onboard, according to multiple news reports.

Spanish police seized the drugs from the_ Juan Sebastian Elcano_ after receiving a tip from U.S. authorities, who arrested several sailors now facing charges of selling cocaine from the ship during a stop in New York.

The Juan Sebastian Elcano is the third-largest tall ship in the world. Built in 1927, she is 370 feet long with four masts and a steel hull, and is named for a Spanish captain who worked for explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

The vessel is officially part of the Spanish Navy, which makes it a military vessel. U.S. authorities said it appeared that the designation was being used as a cover for a multinational drug smuggling operation, according to multiple news reports.