22 September 2021

Five arrested in early morning raids after £190m cocaine seizure

22 September 2021

Five people have been arrested in dawn raids after a luxury yacht was stopped with 2.3 tonnes of cocaine on board.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said four men aged between 28 and 57 and one woman aged 53 were held on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering in an early morning operation in Hartlepool, County Durham, on Wednesday.

During the searches around £30,000 in cash was recovered, and a sixth man, aged 51, was arrested on suspicion of growing cannabis.

The operation comes after Border Force stopped the Jamaican-flagged Kahu 80 miles off the Plymouth coast on September 9 in an operation also involving the Australian Federal Police and seized cocaine worth £190m.

The yacht Kahu that was stopped by Border Force and the Australian Federal Police on September 9. (National Crime Agency/PA)

Six men, one Briton and five Nicaraguans, have already been charged with drugs trafficking over the seizure.

Gavin Heckles, NCA operations manager, said: “The National Crime Agency is working with domestic and international partners to investigate this organised crime group from top to bottom.

“Class A drugs wreck lives and can devastate communities – fighting their importation and distribution through the UK is a priority for us.”

Cleveland Police and the North East Regional Serious Organised Crime Unit also took part in the early morning raids on Wednesday.

Chief Inspector Rachel Stockdale, from Cleveland, said: “Drugs cause misery in our communities and we work with partners to target the organised criminals profiting from this trade.

“We’d encourage anyone concerned about drugs activity to speak to the police, your local information, however small, could be crucial to ongoing investigations.”

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