British, Spanish police seize cocaine haul

December 23, 2009 12:00 am

, LONDON, Dec 23 – British and Spanish police seized on Tuesday at least 1.5 tonnes of cocaine worth more than 400 million euros from a ship off the coast of Spain in a joint operation, officers said.

Spanish police boarded the "Destiny Empress" some 200 miles (322 kilometres) off the Iberian coast and thought to be bound for Britain, police said.

The former coastguard boat, which had crossed the Atlantic from the West Indies, was taken to port where officers discovered the drug haul worth 420 million euros (375 million pounds, 599 million dollars), Scotland Yard said.

"The searches revealed a consignment of cocaine stored in the hold – with initial measurements suggesting it totals at least 1.5 tonnes," it said.

"It is believed that the vast majority of these drugs were destined for London," it said in a statement.

Some five people, including crew members, were arrested, a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

The operation involved the Spanish National Police, Britain\’s Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Beyer hailed the seizure as a sign of their commitment to tackling drug trafficking.

"I would like to thank Spanish National Police whose excellent work ensured the prisoners and drugs were safely secured," he said


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