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Navy frigate seizes cocaine tug

Published 25/04/2015

HMS Somerset
HMS Somerset

Cocaine has been seized from a boat intercepted at sea by the Royal Navy and the Border Force.

The ocean-going tug MV Hamal was intercepted by the frigate HMS Somerset and Border Force cutter Valiant about 100 miles east of the Aberdeenshire coast on Thursday.

It was accompanied to Aberdeen where a full search was carried out.

The crew of the Hamal, nine men aged between 26 and 63, were detained for questioning by investigators from the National Crime Agency's Border Policing Command, and later charged with drug trafficking offences.

They remain in custody and are due to appear at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Monday.

The joint operation also involved the National Crime Agency (NCA).

John McGowan, from the NCA's Border Policing Command, based at the Scottish Crime Campus, Gartcosh, said: "This is a potentially significant seizure of illegal drugs, only made possible by the co-operation between ourselves, Border Force, the Royal Navy and our international partners.

"The exact amount of cocaine on board is yet to be determined and the search is likely to continue for some time.

"The ongoing NCA investigation is being supported by Police Scotland."

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