NCA intelligence leads to one of Europe’s largest ever cocaine seizures

Intelligence from the National Crime Agency (NCA) led to the seizure of more than five tonnes of cocaine with an estimated street value of 200 million euro from a yacht in the Atlantic – one of the largest ever hauls in Europe in recent years.

Oct 21, 2021
By Paul Jacques

The NCA said there was “no doubt some of the Class A drugs would have ended up in the UK”.

The 5.2 tonne seizure was the result of an intelligence-led international operation coordinated through Portugal’s Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (Narcotics) in Lisbon, and supported by the NCA’s International Liaison Officer network and officers from the its Maritime, Aviation and Military Intervention Cell (MAMIC).

Acting on intelligence developed by MAMIC – which profiles and monitors sailing vessels likely to be involved in cocaine trafficking – the 79ft sailing yacht G Siro was intercepted by the Portuguese Navy approximately 200 nautical miles South West off the coast of Portugal and taken to a naval base in Lisbon. Three men on board have been arrested by the Portuguese Police and remain in custody.


Director of Investigations at the NCA Nikki Holland said: “Intercepting this vessel required international cooperation, and the NCA played a key role in sharing information with our law enforcement partners.

“This is a huge haul of Class A drugs, and while the end destination is unclear at this stage, there is no doubt some would have ended up in the UK.”

She added: “The criminal trade in drugs is driven by financial gain and the loss of the profit that would have been made from this seizure will be a significant hit to the international criminal networks involved.

“It is a high priority for the NCA to build on the successes we have had in source countries and along the drugs supply routes, so that organised crime groups land fewer drugs in our towns and cities and prevent them being distributed by street level dealers.”

There are currently more than 300 NCA-led investigations ongoing into Class A drugs – both in the UK and abroad.

In recent weeks, the NCA has contributed to international action resulting in the seizure of nearly seven tonnes of cocaine, the destruction of two cocaine labs capable of producing five tonnes a month and the destruction of a heroin lab.


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