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Royal Navy helps seize £350m of cocaine in English Channel

A Royal Navy warship and Border Force officers have helped seize cocaine worth up to £350 million from a freighter close to the South Coast.

The Moldovan-flagged MV Carib Palm, which had travelled from Colombia, was intercepted in the English Channel in a joint operation involving the patrol vessel HMS Severn run by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the French customs service DNRED.

The ship, which was heading to Gdansk in Poland, was taken to the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer where it was searched by French customs who found 2.4 tonnes of cocaine on board.

An NCA spokesman said that the drugs in the UK would have a wholesale value of about £90 million, but if cut and sold at street level purity the haul could have had a potential value in excess of £350 million.

The 12 crew members, who were Georgian, Turkish and Ukrainian, were arrested and now face prosecution in France.

Tom Dowdall, head of the NCA's border policing command, said: "The sheer scale of this seizure makes it likely that a large amount of the seized drugs would have ended up being sold on the streets of the UK.

"This operation is an excellent example of how the NCA works with international partners to target and disrupt the organised crime groups involved in trafficking cocaine to Europe and the UK."

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