£120m of cocaine seized by authorities off British coast in huge bust

Authorities have seized approximately £120 million worth of cocaine in a joint operation between the National Crime Agency (NCA), Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Border Force.

Six men aged between 24 and 49 were arrested following the operation, which took place aboard a Jamaican-flagged yacht located 80 miles off the coast of Plymouth, UK, after sailing from the Caribbean.

The suspects, made up of one British man from Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, and five Nicaraguans, were arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking and remain in custody, according to a statement released by the NCA.

With a value of around £120 million, the cocaine weighed 1,500kg and would ‘no doubt’ have been ‘sold on into communities across the UK in such ways as County Lines fuelling more crime and misery’, NCA Deputy Director Matt Horne said.

In a statement cited by Sky News, he continued:
“Organised crime groups (OCG) are motivated by money. The deprivation of these drugs will smash a hole in the OCG’s plans and ability to operate.

Also, the arrests of the men transporting the drugs means the crime group has lost trusted offenders who would have been key to their operation.”

Horne said the NCA will continue to work with ‘partners at home such as Border Force and those abroad such as the AFP to protect the public from the Class A drugs threat’.

Meanwhile, AFP Assistant Commissioner Lesa Gale said the successful operation should serve as ‘the strongest warning to criminals yet’, adding, ‘We will continue to be relentless in our pursuit to target and disrupt your illicit operations and to bring you to justice.’

According to The Guardian, Gale also cited the ‘strong, historic relationship’ between the AFP and the NCA, explaining both agencies ‘recognise the significant threat to national security posed by transnational organised crime’.

The mission saw authorities escort the luxury yacht Kahu to an undisclosed location on the UK mainland, where the team then carried out a deep rummage search.

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