DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Senegal’s navy seized more than 2 tons of cocaine from a ship transporting the illegal substance off the coast of the West African nation.

Five crew members were arrested from the vessel named La Rosa. The arrests Monday took place off the Senegalese coast about 363 kilometers (226 miles) from the capital, Dakar, the navy said in a statement issued late Tuesday. It seized 2,026 kilograms of cocaine with the help of French air forces.

The seizure was carried out by "the embarked special force sea units,” according to another more detailed statement released by the armed forces. “The operation was a success thanks to the air support of an Air Force maritime patrol aircraft and the French Falcon 50 aircraft stationed in Dakar.”

For some time now, drug seizures have been on the rise in West Africa.

There have recently been a few seizures of drugs in West African countries indicating that international traffickers have made the continent a hub. Africa is often used by drug smugglers as an intermediary point between South America and Europe.

The West African nation of Benin seized about 2.5 tons of cocaine in September and days ago announced it seized 10.5 kilograms of heroin.

Gambia’s Drug Law Enforcement Agency in January said it had seized nearly 3 tons of cocaine at its port in a consignment that originated from Ecuador.