Two arrested after drugs found on boats

26 June 2018, 14:25 | Updated: 26 June 2018, 14:57

Cocaine seizure

More than three tonnes of cocaine has been seized in the Atlantic Ocean following two operations involving the National Crime Agency.

In the first, the NCA worked with the Spanish National Police, Air Force and Customs services to intercept the British flagged 40 foot yacht SY Pepper Sauce around 200 miles off the Canary Islands. 

The boat, which had sailed from South America, was brought back in to Gran Canaria where 61 bales of cocaine weighing 1,850 kilos were recovered following a search. 

The yacht's crew, including a 42-year-old man from Newquay, Cornwall, and two French nationals will now face prosecution in Spain. 

A day later the NCA worked with Portuguese Judicial Police, Navy and Air Force to intercept the British Virgin Island yacht SY Oggi south of Faial in the Azores en route from the Caribbean. 

A search of the vessel located around 1,400 kilos of cocaine hidden in the structure of the vessel. 

The crew, one of whom was a 38-year-old from Torquay, together with a Dutch and Croatian National, were arrested by the Portuguese Judicial Police. 

Deputy Director Ian Cruxton, Head of International Operations for the NCA, said: ''These two operations have prevented around three tonnes of cocaine from reaching Europe. At UK street prices that equates to hundreds of millions of pounds worth. 

''There is no doubt in my mind that a good proportion of this cocaine would likely have ended up here in UK fuelling criminality, exploitation and violence on our streets. 

''Operations like this demonstrate again how vital the close working relationships with our European partners are, and I congratulate our Spanish and Portuguese partners on their work to intercept these consignments. 

''Our ability to quickly share intelligence has resulted in two significant class A seizures, and allowed us to protect the public both in the UK and in mainland Europe.''