Defence forces play part in English Channel cocaine seizure

‘Significant’ quantity of narcotic discovered on vessel off UK coast in inter-agency operation

An Irish Naval vessel and an Air Corps maritime patrol aircraft have participated in an inter-agency operation with the UK 's National Crime Agency (NCA) resulting in a significant seizure of cocaine and five arrests. Video: NCA

 

A significant quantity of cocaine has been found after a catamaran was boarded in the English Channel during an operation involving the Irish Defence Forces.

Five men have been arrested for drug trafficking offences following the seizure.

The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said a Border Force boat intercepted the vessel off the southwest coast of Cornwall and escorted it to Newlyn harbour.

An Irish Naval vessel and an Air Corps maritime patrol aircraft participated in the inter-agency operation. They conducted a surveillance operation off the south coast of Ireland prior to the detention of the vessel.

“As part of a National Crime Agency-led operation, the Border Force cutter HMC Vigilant intercepted a catamaran off the southwest coast of Cornwall and escorted the vessel into Newlyn harbour on Thursday morning. The investigation is ongoing and a significant quantity of cocaine has been removed from the boat,” said a spokesman for the NCA.

NCA and Border Force officers, supported by Devon and Cornwall Police, remain at the scene as searches continue.

The NCA said the quantity of drugs found on the vessel is expected to be confirmed once a port inspection has been completed.

“The result was very positive and saved lives,” Capt Brian Fitzgerald from the Irish naval service told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland. “This yacht traveled from one extreme of Irish waters over 200 miles off the west coast of Ireland. Irish naval service and air corps tracked it through this maritime area until UK Border Force took up the baton when it entered UK waters.”