Who was behind 4.2 tonnes of cocaine on fishing vessel? Crew of 8 arrested but no word on kingpins


AN operation involving the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) has the resulted in the seizure of 4.2 tonnes of cocaine that was destined for Europe.

Working with European partners as part of an investigation started last year, the NCA developed intelligence leading to the identification of a fishing vessel that was carrying the drugs.

On Sunday January 17 a French naval vessel operating out of Martinique intercepted and boarded the boat in international waters east of Barbados.

The high-purity drugs found on board would likely have had a street value of several hundred million pounds to criminal networks in Europe.

The boat and her eight crew were apprehended and handed over to administrative and judicial authorities.

Officers from the NCA’s international network shared intelligence and coordinated the deployment of law enforcement and military assets, working closely with international partners through the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (MAOC-N) in Lisbon.

Deputy Director Tom Dowdall, head of NCA International, said: “The role played by the NCA in identifying and locating the vessel was critical to the success of the operation.

“Through MAOC-N we were then able to ensure that the boat was intercepted by our partners, in this case the French Navy.

“Working with our European partners we have stopped a huge haul of drugs from making it onto the European market, and I’ve no doubt some of that would have ended up in the UK in the hands of criminal gangs also engaged in violence and exploitation.

“A seizure of this size will have a dramatic impact on the organised crime groups involved, and deprive them of huge profits.”

The NCA has not said if it knows who was behind the huge consignment or if attempts are being made to trace them.

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