Special forces storm cartel ‘mother ship’: Commandos capture cargo ship carrying ‘£100M’ worth of cocaine following chase across the Atlantic – after ‘trawler landing craft’ ran aground on Irish beach
Police in Ireland have found a ‘significant quantity’ – £100 million – of cocaine on board a cargo ship after it ran aground on a beach following a chase across the Atlantic Ocean.
Following the drug raid, three men aged 60, 50 and 31 were arrested on suspicion of organized crime. They are being held at garda stations in Wexford.
The coordinated operation, involving the Irish Navy, Army Ranger Wing, Revenue and the Garda National Drugs and Organized Crime Bureau, resulted in the ‘apprehension of a Panamanian-registered bulk cargo vessel originating in South America’.
The MV Matthew was intercepted by the Army Ranger Wing and detained in the early hours of Tuesday.
Crowds of people lined the walls of Cobh Harbor as the ship was transported to a naval base at Haulbowline in County Cork. Armed Ranger Wing members were seen on board alongside ship crew members and other armed forces personnel.
MV Matthew (pictured) was intercepted by the Army Ranger Wing and detained in the early hours of Tuesday
Military personnel on board the cargo ship named MV Matthew as it is escorted to Cobh in Cork by the Irish Navy
Police in Ireland have found £100 million worth of cocaine on board a cargo ship after it ran aground on a beach following a chase across the Atlantic Ocean
In a joint statement, Revenue and An Garda Siochana said the operation was carried out using air corps and naval assets in challenging conditions off the south-east coast of Ireland.
According to the agencies, a significant quantity of suspected controlled drugs was on board.
They added: ‘After Army Ranger Wing personnel secured the vessel, members of the Irish Navy, the Garda National Drugs and Organized Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) and the Revenue’s Customs Service were transferred to the cargo ship, which is currently being accompanied by a naval ship. to an Irish port.
‘The freighter will now be the subject of a detailed investigation by Revenue and An Garda Siochana.
‘This intelligence-led operation was conducted in collaboration with the Maritime Analysis and Operations Center – Narcotics (MAOC N), based in Lisbon, Portugal, and partners from the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the French customs service DNRED.’
Last night the armed forces, Gardaí and the Irish Coast Guard were seen searching the waters. The level of cooperation is said to be comparable to that of the international ships suspected of trafficking drugs worth tens of millions or even £100 million, according to the Irish Times.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee congratulated the state and international agencies involved in the operation.
She said the drugs on board would ‘undoubtedly have been destined for the Irish and European markets’.
In a statement, she said: “It will be a blow to the organized crime gangs involved in drug distribution internationally.”
She said it demonstrates the success of An Garda Siochana in building coalitions to tackle cross-border crime.
“Illegal drug distribution and abuse causes untold harm to our communities. Criminals may try to overcome the barrier of borders, but as evidenced today, borders are not barriers to effective criminal cooperation.
The coordinated operation, which involved the Irish Navy, the Army Ranger Wing, Revenue and the Garda National Drugs and Organized Crime Bureau, resulted in the ‘apprehension of a Panamanian registered bulk freighter originating from South America’
Justice Secretary Helen McEntee said the drugs on board ‘would undoubtedly have been destined for the Irish and European markets’
Armed Ranger Wing members were seen on board alongside ship crew members and other armed forces personnel
Military personnel on board MV Matthew after a ‘significant quantity’ of suspected drugs was found on board
‘Tackling organized crime is a top priority for the Government and central to building safer, stronger communities. We will always provide An Garda Siochana with the support and resources they need.”
The major multi-agency operation followed an alert after a separate boat ran aground off the coast of Wexford.
The Irish Coast Guard said it received a distress call from a vessel in difficulty off the coast of County Wexford at around 10.10pm on Sunday evening.
Waterford-based Coastguard Helicopter R117 and Rosslare RNLI were dispatched to the scene of a fishing vessel grounded on a sandbank off the coast of Blackwater, County Wexford.
After attempts to tow the ship were unsuccessful, the passengers were successfully lifted from the ship.
Both the R117 and the Rosslare RNLI were subsequently withdrawn.