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Superyacht seized with cocaine worth £160m to be sold at auction | Drugs trade

A superyacht seized from drug smugglers making an attempt to deliver £160m value of cocaine to the UK will likely be offered on behalf of the federal government in an internet public sale this week.

Appearing on a tipoff, Border Drive and Nationwide Crime Company officers intercepted and boarded the 120ft (37 metre) yacht in worldwide waters close to Guernsey final 12 months. They found greater than two tonnes of cocaine with an estimated avenue worth of greater than £160m.

The MY Kahu was seized underneath the Proceeds of Crime Act, and can on Wednesday be put up for public sale with the proceeds for use to fund the NCA’s operations.

The yacht, which has a big saloon, galley, 5 staterooms and lodging for 4 crew, is anticipated to promote for a number of million kilos.

The auctioneer, Mark Woods, mentioned greater than 25 events had registered curiosity in shopping for the yacht, and several other potential consumers seen the MY Kahu throughout an open day in Torquay earlier this week.

Woods mentioned bidders had flown in from Greece, the south of France and even New Zealand. He mentioned the New Zealand household are notably thinking about buying the MY Kahu as a result of it was in-built 1979 for the Royal New Zealand Navy.

MY Kahu.

“It’s so rare that something like MY Kahu comes up for auction and she’s a wonderful vessel, so we look forward to seeing her in the hands of the highest bidder and being able to send the proceeds of sale to the government,” mentioned Woods, authorities contracts supervisor at Wilsons Auctions.

Woods, who specialises in promoting confiscated belongings, mentioned the yacht was one of the vital attention-grabbing objects seized by the federal government underneath the Proceeds of Crime Act that he has offered. “We have sold all sorts of things seized under the act. This isn’t our first boat, but it’s one of the biggest,” he mentioned. “We’ve also sold planes, gold bullion, high value jewellery and watches, cryptocurrency and even an Olympic gold medal-winning horse. Then there are the cars – Rolls-Royces, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Bentleys.

“You never know what you are going to be instructed to manage with seized assets and it really captures the imagination of the public when it comes to the auction. It’s quite the story.”

Woods mentioned the boat was in good situation, regardless of being raided and extensively searched by Border Drive officers. “She went through a thorough search process when originally seized. However, after carrying out works, she is now well presented and ready for auction.”

The yacht left Barbados in August 2021 and sailed throughout the Atlantic. It was intercepted 80 miles south of Plymouth by specialist officers from Border Drive and the NCA, who raided the vessel.

The medication had been found wrapped in lots of of sealed packages distributed rigorously throughout the vessel to keep away from the load main the boat to record. On the time of the seizure the NCA mentioned the cocaine would have “no doubt been sold on to communities in Britain”.

4 males charged with drug smuggling in relation to the haul had been cleared after a trial final month. The Crown Prosecution Service additionally dropped an analogous cost towards a fifth defendant.

Andrew Cole, 33, of Norton Highway, Stockton-on-Tees, has pleaded responsible to drug smuggling. He will likely be sentenced on 26 Might.

Bidding on the yacht begins at 3pm on 27 April, and closes at 3pm on 28 April.

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