£136m cocaine haul hidden among bananas on ship discovered by UK drugs police

 

The biggest cocaine haul found by UK drugs officers in more than two years has been discovered hidden among bananas on a ship that sailed from Colombia.

Officers from the National Crime Agency and UK Border Force uncovered around 850kg of cocaine, which would have a street value of around £136 million, on the MV Crown Jade after it docked in Portsmouth.

They boarded the ship on October 26 and carried out a three-day search to find the stash. It is believed the drug haul was intended for destinations across Europe including the UK.

Deputy director of the NCA's Border Policing Command, Tom Dowdall, said: "This was a huge shipment and losing it is a major blow for the criminal groups involved.

"We believe the cocaine found on board this ship is of a very high purity - probably more than 80 per cent. It would have been cut several times before being sold, so the amount found here could have ended up as several tonnes at street level."

The seizure is thought to be the largest since May 2011 when 1.2 tonnes of cocaine were found on a yacht in Southampton.

PA