The Italian-flagged yacht was 600 nautical miles off the Azores when it was intercepted by the Portuguese authorities

Two men have been arrested following the discovery of 400kg of cocaine hidden on board a yacht off The Azores

The operation – called Atlantic Race –  involved the Portuguese Judiciary Police, the National Unit to Combat Trafficking in Narcotics and the Portuguese Navy and Air Force.

The UK’s National Crime Agency and the authorities in Italy also assisted in the operation.

According to a media release issued by the Judiciary Police, the two crew on board the yacht are aged 45 and 58, and are “part of a transnational criminal organization established in different countries of the European continent and Latin America.”

It said around 400kg of cocaine was found on board the vessel, stashed inside hatches.

Continues below…

The drugs were due to be landed at an unspecified mainland port in Portugal, and were intended for distribution throughout Europe.

The vessel, which was Italian flagged, had been tracked by the Portuguese Air Force for a week before it was intercepted around 600 nautical miles south of the Azores.

It was escorted to the Naval Support Point at Portimão in southern Portugal, where the bales of cocaine, wrapped in black plastic bags, were displayed by the authorities.

Local media are reporting that the yacht’s 58-year-old skipper is Italian, and the 45-year-old crew member is from Montenegro.