The drugs were seized following an operation involving the National Crime Agency, Border Force and the Irish Garda

Cocaine with a UK street value of more than

£40m was seized from a cargo ship in Portsmouth on Monday evening.

The drugs were detained following a search of

Star Stratos at the city’s port.

Approximately 300 kilos was found concealed

within a shipment of bananas, which had originated in Colombia.

The operation involved the National Crime

Agency (NCA), Border Force and the Irish Garda, with investigations continuing

both in the UK and Ireland with An Garda Síochána.

The NCA’s

Border Policing Command deputy director Tom Dowdall, said: “Working with our

law enforcement partners in the UK and Ireland we have successfully prevented a

huge quantity of what is likely to be very high purity cocaine reaching our

streets.

“Our investigations

into the organised crime groups likely to be responsible for this shipment

continue. 

“This

seizure once again demonstrates the international reach of the NCA and the

impact we are having on the criminal networks involved in drug trafficking.”

This is the

second joint operation between the NCA and An Garda Síochána, which has

resulted in a huge cocaine seizure in less than three months, with around a

tonne of cocaine previously being found on a yacht 300 miles off the coast

of Ireland.

Border Force

regional director Carole Upshall said: “Border Force officers are on the front

line of the fight to stop illegal drugs like cocaine making it on to the UK’s

streets and causing harm to our communities.

“Working

with the NCA we are determined to do all we can to tackle traffickers and the

criminal groups behind smuggling.”

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