Europe

Cork cocaine: Five British men questioned over £100m haul

Irish navy officers stand guard over the cocaine haul Image copyright Brian Lawless
Image caption Irish navy officers stand guard over the cocaine haul

Five men arrested in connection with the seizure of a tonne of cocaine on a yacht off the south west coast of the Republic of Ireland are all British, it has been confirmed.

The yacht, Makayabella was intercepted about 300 miles off the coast early on Tuesday.

A 70-year-old man and two others, aged 35 and 28 were arrested by Irish navy officers in a surprise operation.

They are from West Yorkshire, where police arrested two other men.

They are aged 43 and 47. They also want to talk to a sixth man on suspicion of involvement in the massive drugs smuggling operation.

Security sources said the plot involved landing the consignment on the North Wales coast.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the drugs haul had an estimated street value of more than £100m.

The three men on the yacht were arrested by Irish navy officers in an overnight operation involving the UK, France and Venezuela.

The yacht had been tracked from Venezuela.

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Media captionLiam Peakin from Irish Customs called the seizure "significant"

Hank Cole, NCA, said: "NCA investigators were part of the effort to identify and track the boat across the Atlantic from the Caribbean, leading to its eventual interception off the coast of Ireland. This was a large seizure and our investigation is ongoing.

"Thanks to the co-operation between the NCA and our Irish, French and Venezuelan colleagues, we have managed to prevent this cocaine reaching our streets and causing damage to communities. I pay tribute to all those involved."

The three British men are being questioned in Cork and can be held for seven days.

The 43-year-old man arrested in Leeds on suspicion of conspiring to import class A drugs was later bailed pending further enquiries.

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