Two charged after boat interdiction uncovers 350 kilos of cocaine 

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Photo credit: NCA - Crown copyright

Two men have been charged after £37 million of cocaine was seized from a boat off the coast of Suffolk as part of a National Crime Agency investigation.

NCA officers started an investigation after a rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) was intercepted near East Benacre Broads in Suffolk on Monday (24 June).

A Border Force cutter moved in but the boat initially failed to stop and one of the men was seen jumping from the vessel and swimming towards the beach.

The boat was successfully stopped and seized by Border Force and searched by NCA officers where 350 kilos of cocaine was found hidden under tarpaulin on the front of the RHIB.

Investigators believe the vessel had travelled out to sea where it had met a larger ship and collected the drugs.

Packages on boat 2

Bruce Knowles, 55, of Dereham, Norfolk, and Ferhat Gumrukguoglu, 31, from the Netherlands, were arrested the same day on suspicion of importing a controlled drug. Officers from Suffolk and Norfolk forces assisted in the arrest of one of the men.

Both were interviewed by NCA investigators and charged to appear at Norwich Magistrates Court. Knowles appeared yesterday (25 June) and was remanded until his next appearance on 23 July. Gumrukguoglu will appear at the same court today (26 June).

Paul Orchard, from the NCA, said: 

“This is a very significant seizure of cocaine and will be a huge loss for the organised crime group involved in smuggling it into the UK.

“With thanks to our partners in Border Force, we have been able to remove these dangerous drugs from the market before they reached the streets of the UK, where they would undoubtedly have fuelled further crime and exploitation.

“This seizure is a great example of joint working to disrupt criminal activity and protect the public from serious and organised crime.

“Our investigation into this importation continues.”

Source: NCA

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