Cocaine Worth £20m Seized From Yacht Off Welsh Coast

August 28: Cocaine with a street value of £20m has been seized and six people arrested after a sailing yacht was intercepted off the coast of Wales.

National Crime Agency (NCA) officers had been tracking the vessel, the Sy Atrevido, which was believed to be heading from South America to the UK.

The Border Force cutter HMC Protector intercepted the yacht half a mile off the Welsh coast on Tuesday. It was escorted into the port of Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, and a search by Border Force’s “deep rummage” team began.

Officers discovered numerous packages containing white powder, which had been distributed throughout the vessel. Forensic tests indicated the powder was cocaine.

On Thursday, the NCA said it had found more than 250kg of cocaine, which would have a wholesale value to criminals of about £8m and a potential street value of £20m.

Investigators believe there may be up to 750kg onboard. NCA, Border Force, and Dyfed-Powys police officers remained at the scene.

Two men, aged 53 and 41, were arrested onboard the vessel and remained in custody for questioning.

Four others – three men aged, 23, 31 and 47 and a woman aged 30 – were arrested in Liverpool and Loughborough. They were later released on bail until late September.

Craig Naylor, the NCA deputy director of investigations, : “This is a substantial seizure of cocaine, which would have generated tens of millions of pounds in criminal profits. These drugs were intended for sale on UK streets, where they will have fuelled considerable violence and exploitation.

“The NCA works with partners in the UK and around the world to target the criminal groups posing the greatest threat to the public.”

Steve Whitton, from Border Force’s maritime command, said: “This is a major seizure and a testament to the multi-agency approach we take to secure the UK’s border and territorial waters.

“Our collaboration with the NCA, combined with excellent work from the crew of HMC Protector and officers from our specialist deep rummage team ensured that the cargo did not reach its intended destination.”

Source: The Guardian / Steven Morris

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