NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

North Sea tug cocaine 'worth half a billion pounds'

Cocaine found on a tug which was stopped in the North Sea was potentially worth more than half a billion pounds, a court has heard.

Nine men are accused of smuggling 3.2 tonnes of cocaine on the Hamal.

UK Border Force officers, with Royal Navy support, boarded the tug in an operation about 100 miles east of Aberdeen in April last year.

An expert told the High Court in Glasgow the "unprecedented" haul had a maximum street value of £512m.

Det Con Jurgen Wahla, of Police Scotland, was asked by advocate depute Ashley Edwards: "What is the potential maximum street value of the cocaine?".

'Massive importation'

Det Con Wahla replied: "If sold in the UK it would be £512m if sold in gram deals and adulterated to 15 to 20 per cent pure."

Prosecutor Miss Edwards then said: "Just over half a billion pounds" and Det Con Wahla responded: "That's correct. It is a massive, massive importation, unprecedented in what I've seen in my experience."

The jury has heard the Hamal was taken to Aberdeen harbour to be searched.

Kayacan Dalgakiran, 64, Mustafa Guven, 48, Mustafa Ceviz, 55, Umit Colakel, 39, Ibrahim Dag, 48, Mumin Sahin, 46, Emin Ozmen, 51, Abdulkadir Cirik, 32, and Muhammet Seckin, 27, deny the charges against them.

The trial, before judge Lord Kinclaven, continues.

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