Two Dutchmen arrested as UK officials seize yacht stuffed with cocaine


Two Dutchmen have been arrested in England after customs officials discovered a massive haul of cocaine hidden on their yacht.

The boat was intercepted nearly 200 kilometres off the coast of Cornwall last week in an operation involving British, Portuguese, French, Spanish and Dutch officials, Britain’s national crime agency NCA said in a statement.

The cocaine was hidden in bales wrapped in plastic in a compartment at the rear of the boat, officials said. So far, some two tonnes of cocaine has been recovered from the boat.

The two crew members, Maarten Pieterse, aged 59 and Emile Schoemaker, aged 44, appeared in court in Bristol on Saturday for a remand hearing. Both were remanded in custody until their next court appearance on August 20.

NCA regional head Andy Quinn said the find is one of the largest hauls of class A drugs ever made in the UK, and has a potential street value of hundreds of millions of euros.

‘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 major hit to the international criminal networks involved,’ he said.

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