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Joint operation at sea ends in £4m drug haul

More than £4 million worth of cannabis resin was recovered by the police, Customs and the Guardia Civil following a dramatic chase at sea in the early hours of Thursday.

The three law enforcement agencies endured a busy night as they engaged in two separate high speed chases involving up to five large Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).

They subsequently retrieved 27 bales of cannabis which had been jettisoned during one pursuit.

The drugs weighed approximately 800 kilograms and have an estimated street value of £4,050,000.

This, police said, highlights the ‘close cooperation’ that exists not just among local law enforcement agencies, but also with the Guardia Civil in combating crime, particularly drug trafficking, across the Strait of Gibraltar.

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According to an RGP statement, police received information suggesting that up to five suspect vessels were operating within the straits and waters surrounding Gibraltar.

As a result, marine assets of both law enforcement agencies began protracted maritime patrols of BGTW.

These culminated in two high speed pursuits which saw the offending vessels moving out of BGTW.

During the second pursuit which occurred shortly before 6am, the RGP vessel managed to close the distance to the suspect RHIB.

The suspect vessel performed evasive manoeuvres but was unable to evade the RGP vessel.

The occupants of the suspect RHIB then began jettisoning their cargo in an attempt to lighten their vessel and outrun the RGP vessel.

The pursuit continued south along the Bay until the suspect RHIB left BGTW and the pursuit was taken up by the Guardia Civil.

Following this, the route of the chase was retraced anda bale of cannabis was recovered by the RGP vessel with a further seven having been recovered by the Guardia Civil.

A further search of the Bay was conducted during the course of the morning by RGP and HM Customs officers and resulted in the seizure of a further 26 bales.

According to the RGP, since December 21 to the present RGP marine crews have engaged in nine separate high speed pursuits.

This highlights the close cooperation that exists not just among local law enforcement agencies, but also with the Guardia Civil in combating crime, particularly drug trafficking, across the Straits of Gibraltar, the RGP said.

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