'£40m' of cocaine seized on yacht
A multimillion-pound haul of cocaine destined for the UK market has been intercepted by police in an international drugs bust.
Two men from Jersey have been arrested after their yacht was boarded by officers in the Caribbean as it made its way to the UK.
On board, they discovered around 550lb of the Class A drug - estimated to have a street value of up to £40 million. It followed an investigation involving the Metropolitan Police, their French counterparts and officials from the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Hank Cole, the NCA's head of international operations, said: "Together we have stopped a huge consignment of cocaine close to source.
"We have no doubt that without this intervention the drugs would have ended up on the streets of the UK where, after being cut, they would have had a likely potential value of £30-40 million.
"Our investigation into the organised crime network involved in this attempt continues."
The UK-registered vessel SY Hygeia of Halsa was boarded by French customs off the island of Martinique on Monday as it began a transatlantic crossing.
Two men - aged 57 and 42 - were arrested and now face possible prosecution by the French authorities.
The operation followed an investigation by the Met and NCA into a London-based organised crime group, with connections to the Caribbean, suspected of being involved in the large-scale importation of class A drugs.
Detective Superintendent Neil Thompson said: "It is clear that the drugs recovered would have been distributed throughout the streets of London and beyond, generating further criminality and fuelling gang activity.
"If you deal in drugs in any scale we will find you, we will arrest you, and you will face the consequences of your actions."
This is the second significant seizure of Class A drugs on a sailing vessel destined for the UK in recent weeks.
Two months ago, around a tonne of cocaine was seized by the Irish Naval Service acting on information supplied by the NCA.