Three British Men Arrested After £80 Million Of Cocaine Seized In Mid-Atlantic Bust
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Three British men have been arrested in the mid-Atlantic by Spanish police after customs agents discovered £80 million worth of cocaine on a yacht travelling from the Caribbean to Europe.
The Spanish police now believe they have broken up a large international drugs ring led by a Royal Navy officer, who is now in prison awaiting charges.
Robert Mark Benson, 64, was one of 10 people arrested last month during raids in Malaga and Cadiz in Spain, as well as the Spanish enclave in North Africa, Ceuta.
Benson was arrested after two seizures were made on boats carrying 1.5 tonnes of hashish.
The Spanish police had previously said Benson was someone who had 'strong links with other organisations in countries like the UK and Ukraine'.
He has not been officially named by British authorities, although the National Crime Agency has been involved in the whole thing.
They released a statement that said: "The arrests are linked to an ongoing investigation into international drug trafficking that has so far resulted in the arrest of a number of individuals in Spain, and the seizure of 1.6 tonnes of hashish, more than £38,000 and four sailing vessels.
"The British head of the Organised Crime Group - a former Royal Navy officer living in Southern Spain - was among those previously arrested.
"Known to law enforcement agencies for his links to organised crime groups in the UK and Ukraine, officers believe he trained the crew and ran several companies engaged in buying, selling and renting sailing vessels that were subsequently used to conduct drugs transportations."
A spokesperson for the Spanish National Police released another statement about the seizure of the drugs in the Atlantic, which is believed to have taken place on June 13, but only released this week.
They said: "National Police officers in a joint operation with Tax Agency officials boarded a yacht called SY Windwhisper with nearly a tonne of cocaine from the Caribbean and arrested the three crew members.
"At the same time four people were arrested in the provinces of Malaga and Cadiz.
"The investigation focused from the beginning on a British national who is already under arrest, an ex Royal Navy officer with extensive nautical knowledge.
"This man ran several companies involved in the buying and selling of boats he allegedly used to acquire the means of transport for the smuggled drugs.
"He also allegedly facilitated the creation of front companies to launder drugs money."
Two of the four men arrested in the Atlantic bust are believed to be British, but none of them have so far been named.
Head of European Operations for NCA International, Dave Hucker, said: "This is a huge haul of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than £80million. I have no doubt the drugs on board were destined for the streets of the UK, so this seizure is a significant result.
"We know that the criminal trade in drugs is driven by financial gain, and the loss of the profit that would have been made from these drugs will have a major impact on the crime groups involved.
"We continue to work with our international law enforcement partners to identify those responsible for supplying class A drugs to the UK, and will do all we can to disrupt their supply chains."