Two Men In Court After One Of The Largest Cocaine Seizures In UK History
Police have seized two tonnes of cocaine off the coast of Cornwall in what is being described as the biggest drug seizure in years.
Agents from the National Crime Agency raided a vessel, the SY Marcia, at Newlyn Harbour after identifying it out at sea and using Border Force ships to intercept it.
Maarten Peter Pieterse, 59, and Emile Adriaan Jeroen Schoemaker, 44, both from the Netherlands, were arrested on board.
The pair have been charged with being 'concerned in the carrying or concealing of controlled drug of Class A, namely cocaine, on the SY Marcia knowing or having reasonable grounds to suspect that the drug was intended to be imported'.
Schoemaker denied the charges at Bristol Magistrates Court on Saturday morning, while Pieterse did not enter a plea. They have been remanded in custody and will reappear in court on 20 August.
National Crime Agency regional head of investigations, Andy Quinn, released a statement that said: "This is a huge haul of class A drugs, one of the largest seizures of class A ever in the UK, and with a potential street value likely to be in the hundreds of millions.
"While the end destination is unclear at this stage, I've no doubt that this was destined for the European market.
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"At least a proportion of this cocaine would have ended up here in the UK, sold by drugs gangs who are also involved in intimidation, exploitation and violence.
"This seizure will be a major hit to the international criminal networks involved.
"The NCA continues to provide a key role in tackling organised criminal networks supplying class A drugs into the UK, and our work with partners at home and abroad to tackle the supply chain is vital to this."
"This is a major seizure, one of the largest detections of cocaine ever made in the UK and a testament to the multi-agency approach we take to secure the UK's border and territorial waters.
"That collaboration with the NCA and international partners, combined with excellent work from the crew of the Vigilant and officers from our specialist deep rummage team ensured that the SY Marcia's cargo did not reach its intended destination.
"Working together, we will continue to do all we can to put the organised crime groups involved in drug smuggling behind bars."
Featured Image Credit: PA