Stornoway skipper in £96m international drugs bust

boat interception
Image caption,The yacht was intercepted by the French navy 1,200 miles east of Martinique in the Atlantic

A 29-year-old man from Stornoway has been arrested in an international drugs sting where 1.2 tonnes of cocaine worth £96m was seized from a boat.

He was skippering a Spanish-registered yacht intercepted by the French navy on 18 December, around 1,200 miles east of Martinique in the Atlantic.

Two other British crew members were also arrested and taken to Martinique to face criminal charges.

National Crime Agency officers worked alongside agents in France and Spain.

The operation targeted a crime group suspected of shipping cocaine across the Atlantic to Europe.

Officers recovered around 40 bales of cocaine from the vessel, with an estimated UK street value of around £96m

cocaine on boat
Image caption,About 1.2 tonnes of cocaine was found on the yacht

Spanish authorities in Marbella and Valencia arrested five other people suspected of involvement in the shipment.

They included a 62-year-old British man, originally from Lincolnshire but now resident in Spain, and his 24-year-old son.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) worked with the Spanish Policia Nacional, French customs, the French Navy and the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre Narcotics in Lisbon.

NCA international liaison officer in Madrid, Paul Owen, said: “This multi-national operation has seen a huge consignment of cocaine prevented from reaching Europe, and huge profits denied to organised criminals.

“I have no doubt that some of these drugs were destined for the UK.

“Tackling these global networks requires international law enforcement co-operation, and I’m grateful to our partners in France, Spain, the Caribbean and MAOC-N for their assistance.”

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