Hartlepool: Five arrested in dawn raid after 2.3 tonnes of cocaine worth £190m seized from luxury yacht

·2-min read

Police have arrested five people after 2.3 tonnes of cocaine worth £190m was recovered from a yacht during an operation at sea.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) carried out an early morning raid in Hartlepool, County Durham.

A video from the NCA showed a group of officers approaching what appeared to be the back door of a house, before one battered down the door, and they all then entered the property.

The operation resulted in four men aged between 28 and 57 and a woman aged 53 being held on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering.

Around £30,000 in cash was also found, while a fifth man, aged 51, was arrested on suspicion of growing cannabis.

Gavin Heckles, NCA operations manager, said: "The National Crime Agency is working with domestic and international partners to investigate this organised crime group from top to bottom.

"Class A drugs wreck lives and can devastate communities - fighting their importation and distribution through the UK is a priority for us."

Six men, including one Briton and five Nicaraguans, had already been charged with drugs trafficking over the seizure from the yacht on 9 September.

Border Force stopped Kahu, a Jamaican-flagged luxury vessel sailing from the Caribbean, 80 miles off the Plymouth coast as part of an operation also involving Australian Federal Police.

The cocaine haul was previously believed to weigh more than two tonnes and be worth £160m, but it has now been confirmed it was 2.3 tonnes and worth £190m at street level.

Cleveland Police and the North East Regional Serious Organised Crime Unit also took part in the early morning Hartlepool raids on Wednesday.

Chief Inspector Rachel Stockdale, of Cleveland, urged people to speak to police if they had noticed any drugs activity.

She said: "Drugs cause misery in our communities and we work with partners to target the organised criminals profiting from this trade.

"We'd encourage anyone concerned about drugs activity to speak to the police, your local information, however small, could be crucial to ongoing investigations."

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