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News - 5 August 2011

Class A drugs found in Southampton Docks

A record £300 million haul of cocaine, 1.2 tonnes with a purity of 90%, has been found hidden inside a 65ft pleasure cruiser at Southampton docks in June.
It is the biggest haul of Class A drugs ever found in the UK, said officials from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).
French authorities were alerted to the suspicious £1 million craft Louise while it was in the Caribbean in May and it was then tracked to Southampton, on its way to the Netherlands. Officials spent six days searching the vessel and found the drugs packed in a specially-designed compartment beneath the boat's bathing platform.
It is understood the cocaine, which originated in South America, was packed inside the boat while it was in Venezuela. The drug was 90% pure, while the average purity of cocaine seized at the UK border is just 63%, officials said. The haul is estimated to be worth between £50 million wholesale and £300 million on the streets.
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."
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