UK & World News
Cocaine: £200m Seized In US-Australia Raid
A haul of cocaine worth more than £200m has been seized from a yacht in the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu.
The seizure of 750kg (1,650lb) was made at the capital, Port Vila, with the help of Vanuatu police, US and Australian officials said.
The drugs were found in the engine compartment of the yacht - no arrests have yet been made.
The haul was the result of co-operation between US and the Australian authorities who have been working with South Pacific governments since 2010 to investigate organised crime syndicates' use of yachts to smuggle cocaine from South America to Australia.
"On this occasion, we've taken the legs out from under them," said Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Ramzi Jabbour.
"But we're not resting on our laurels and we're certainly working particularly with our counterparts within the Pacific to combat this issue and remain vigilant."
David Cali, US Drug Enforcement Administration senior attache, said: "The investigation is continuing and we hope to identify additional people and make arrests when the time is appropriate."
"Organised crime syndicates should know that we are prepared, willing and able to combine our skills, resources and efforts to target them," he added.
Australia has become an increasingly lucrative market for international drug syndicates because of the relative strength of its currency and economy.
Co-operation with the authorities in Vanuatu, Tonga, the Cook Islands, and New Caledonia has resulted in almost two tons of cocaine destined for Australia being seized from five vessels since 2010.