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Huge cocaine seizure off Irish coast
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[QUOTE="Crusader74, post: 41242, member: 39"] Gardaí, the Naval Service and Customs have seized a consignment of at least 1.5 tonnes of cocaine off the southwest coast. Gardaí say they found packages of cocaine with an [B]estimated street value of around €500m,[/B] which would exceed last year's record €440m seizure at Dunlough Bay in west Cork. The drugs were on a 60-foot yacht that was taken into custody around 200 miles off the southwest coast last night. [URL="http://imageshack.us/"][IMG]http://img394.imageshack.us/img394/1156/12259255677401ht8.jpg[/IMG][/URL] [URL="http://imageshack.us/"][IMG]http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/9774/15146307io6.jpg[/IMG][/URL] The boat is being brought to shore in Cork under armed guard and is due ashore tomorrow morning. Three men between the ages of 44 and 52 have been detained by gardaí and the investigation is continuing. They are being questioned at garda stations in Bantry and Bandon. The seizure is the result of a Joint Task Force operation code-named Seabight that has been ongoing for for a number of weeks. Ireland was one of seven EU member states that established the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre Against Narcotics in Lisbon in Portugal last year. The yacht carrying the drugs was tracked across the Atlantic by that centre, leading to last night's seizure. [B]Ireland's contribution to the operation of the centre is less than €250,000[/B] per year. It looks as if that investment has already been repaid with rich dividends. The Minister for Defence, Willie O'Dea has congratulated the Naval Service on the success of this operation. He said 'It is a timely reminder to us all of the dangers the Naval Service confronts in the assistance it gives to the gardaí and Customs Assets in respect of drug interdiction. 'It is also clear evidence that Ireland has a Naval Service that is a multi-skilled, highly-trained force.' The Justice Minister, Dermot Ahern, has also congratulated the Joint Drugs Task Force on the operation. Taoiseach Brian Cowen tonight congratulated all those involved in the operation. 'I want to congratulate and compliment all those involved for their professionalism and dedication to duty, [B]a massive drugs haul like this should not be seen just in terms of the hundreds of millions of euro of drugs seized, but also in terms of the lives saved and the misery avoided as a result,' he said.[/B] 'The Government is working hard to rid our cities and towns from the scourge of drug addiction and the crimes associated with drug trafficking. 'Today is a success but we must not become complacent, constant vigilance must be maintained.' [URL]http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/1106/drugs.html[/URL] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- US/UK Agencies were also involved;) Sailors braved six metre seas to intercept the €700m cocaine yacht off the southwest coast, it was revealed today. It’s the biggest drugs seizure ever here and three British men were today being quizzed by detectives about where they were destined. The three suspects were named as Britons, Christopher Wiggam (42), Philip Doo (52) and David Mufford (44). The 60ft Dances with Waves yacht sailed from the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean three weeks ago. It made a brief stop in North Africa before heading for the Irish coast. Today the bravery of the Navy personnel, who boarded the yacht 150 miles southwest of Mizen Head, was revealed Three Navy ships were involved in shadowing the yacht this week after it was [B]tracked by US satellites[/B]. In all 200 Navy, gardai and customs officers were involved in Operation Seabight over the last 48 hours. Seabight was co-ordinated by Chief Supt Tony Quilter of the Garda National Drugs Unit at Dublin Castle. [B]It followed a tip-off from the Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) in Miami about the suspicious movements of the yacht.[/B] Dances With Waves was tracked every metre of the way from the Caribbean. Navy ribs were dispatched by the patrol vessel, the LE Niamh in the early hours of yesterday to board the yacht. Sources described how the boarding party braved six- metre waves to climb aboard the bandit vessel. The Taoiseach and Defence Minister today hailed the operation. The expensive yacht was expected to berth at an isolated pier outside Castletownbere this morning, having battled through what a Naval spokesperson described as “very rough conditions”. Investigators will strip the vessel apart and bring the 70 bales of cocaine to Garda HQ at the Phoenix Park for examination. US experts will be able to tell them exactly which Latin American cartel organised the shipment – possibly ultimately bound for Britain or Spain rather than Ireland. The three suspects were brought to Bantry and Bandon Garda Stations where they can be detained for up to seven days under drug trafficking legislation. The drugs were in air tight and waterproof packaging. Operation Seabight was co-ordinated by four international police forces including the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in the UK. The boarded yacht, Dances With Waves, was anchored about a mile off the southwest coast this morning as final preparations were being made for its landing. Naval Service personnel are expected to begin studying charts and maps found on board to try and establish the yacht's intended destination. A naval spokesperson told the Herald that once the drugs are brought ashore Gardai and customs officers will take full control of the operation. “Once the drugs hit the quay wall, the naval involvement is finished,” he said, adding: “They haven't been tested yet but we understand they are of high level purity.” Ireland's previous record cocaine haul came at Dunlough Bay in West Cork just 17 months ago and involved €440 million of Columbian cocaine which was traced to the Medellin area. Justice Minister Dermot Ahern confirmed the involvement of the Lisbon-based MAOC centre which was set up last year to tackle the increasing shipments of cocaine into Europe from South and Latin America. [/QUOTE]
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Huge cocaine seizure off Irish coast