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PICTURES: Four being questioned following seizure of a tonne of cocaine

The seizure was made in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

FOUR BRITISH NATIONALS are being questioned about an €80 million cocaine seizure made off the coast of Cork.

Gardaí are working with UK authorities and further arrests are expected.

Three of the men – all in their 30s and 40s – are being quizzed by detectives in Ireland, while the fourth has been detained in West Yorkshire, England.

It is one of the biggest hauls of drugs in Ireland in the past 10 years and one of the largest in Europe this year.

The operation, which came after weeks of surveillance, saw Irish agencies board the yacht Makayabella in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Drugs yacht seized Source: PA

An armed Naval team from the LE Róisín boarded the boat, with the LE Niamh in the area for support.

The Inter Agency operation was conducted using two naval vessels and interagency personnel, in challenging conditions between 200 and 300 miles West South West of Mizen Head.

Drugs yacht seized Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

An Irish Navy Rib eventually led the yacht  into Haulbowline naval base at Cobh at about 11pm last night.

Drugs yacht seized Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

It is understood that the yacht was going to meet another vessel which would then bring the narcotics ashore.

Drugs yacht seized Customs officials aboard the yacht Makayabella. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

After Naval Service personnel secured the vessel, members of An Garda Síochána and Revenue’s Customs Service were transferred to the yacht and conducted a search.

Drugs yacht seized Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The operation was based on intelligence provided by the National Crime Agency in the UK and the French customs service DNRED via the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC (N)) based in Lisbon.

Drugs yacht seized Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney congratulated the Naval Service and the crews of the LE Niamh and LE Róisín.

“The success of this operation once again brings into focus the importance of the role of the Joint Task Force on Drug Interdiction in combating drug trafficking. In particular, I wish to acknowledge the huge contribution to the success of this operation made by the members of the Naval Service, An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Customs Service,” he said in a statement.

All images PA Wire

READ: €80 million in cocaine seized off the Cork coast

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