The UK Border Agency has seized a record haul of cocaine with a street value of £300 MILLION, it emerged today.
A mind-blowing 1.2-tonnes of the Class A drug was found hidden inside a £1 million yacht at Southampton docks in June.
Officers from the UK Border Agency have been working alongside Dutch police to track the major drug traffickers, arresting six gang members in Holland on Monday.
The Class A substance, which originated in South America, has a purity of 90 per cent – considerably higher than the average of 63 per cent for cocaine seized in the UK
It has a wholesale value of £50 million with a street value of £300 million, making it the most valuable seizure ever carried out in the UK.
Officers spent six days analysing the contraband after targeting the yacht – named Louise – which was transported to Southampton from the British Virgin Islands in a cargo ship.
The drugs, which were heading for Holland, were eventually found hidden away deep behind the bathing platform of the yacht, having been packed inside this specially prepared space in Venezuela.
Dutch police, with the help of the Serious Organised Crime Agency and UK Border Agency, raided a number of addresses and have made six arrests – including the man they believe organised the shipment. They also seized a firearm and £40,000 in cash.
The seizure has been described as ”significant” and a ”clear message” by the government.
Immigration minister Damian Green said: ”This was a significant drugs seizure which was made possible by the co operation of our international partners. UK Border Agency staff have shown vigilance, dedication and determination to uncover this shipment.
”Our efforts have helped bring an international crime gang to book and the message is clear; we will investigate and prosecute anyone who tries to smuggle banned substances through UK borders.
”By keeping the border secure we play a key role in stopping drugs entering the UK and in reducing the harm they do to our communities. We aim to protect society from the violence and corruption that always accompanies the trade in illegal goods.”