SOUTHAMPTON, England, Aug. 3 (UPI) — British authorities say they seized a record amount of cocaine aboard a luxury yacht in Southampton.
The U.K. Border Agency helped Dutch police find six Dutch nationals believed to be members of an organized crime gang and they were arrested in morning raids Tuesday, officials said, the BBC reported.
The 1.2 tons of cocaine, with a street value of up to nearly $492 million, was found two months ago hidden in the 65-foot yacht, the U.K. Border Agency said.
“This has been an enormous seizure of cocaine. This is the largest we have on record,” said Brodie Clark, head of the UKBA’s border force.
The drugs had come from South America and were destined for the Netherlands, officials said.
The BBC said French officials, alerted about the “Louise” while it was in the Caribbean in May, located it in Southampton en route to Holland.
The Border Agency said officials searched the yacht for six days and found the cocaine in a compartment beneath the boat’s bathing platform.
The BBC said the cocaine is believed to have been put in the boat in Venezuela.
The confiscated drug was 90 percent pure, compared with a 63 percent average purity for cocaine seized at the U.K. border.
Authorities arrested the 60-year-old owner of the boat, his three sons and two 44-year-old men.