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Three charged after 200 kilo drugs haul recovered from fishing vessel

Ketamine with an estimated street value of £1.4 million has been recovered from a fishing boat in Suffolk and five men have been arrested after a National Crime Agency investigation.

NCA officers arrested Richard Saul, 41, of Woodbridge, and two others on a boat in the River Deben in Suffolk after they allegedly offloaded a number of boxes from the vessel into a waiting car at a dock in Ramsholt, Suffolk in the early hours of Saturday morning (17 February).

The boxes were then taken to a storage unit in Rendlesham, Suffolk. When investigators searched the unit, 200 kilos of ketamine was discovered inside.

A further two men, Sean Seymour, 58, of Beech Road, Saxmundham, and Domenic Labella, 19, of Beaconsfield Road, Ipswich, who are alleged to have transported the drugs, were arrested.

The boat is alleged to have travelled from Amsterdam to the Suffolk dock for the purpose of importing drugs.

NCA investigators worked closely with Dutch partners to monitor the boat, named MFV Girl Carole, as it left the Netherlands before interdicting as it left the dock. A deactivated shotgun was also found on the vessel.
A further amount of cannabis was found at both Labella and Seymour’s home addresses.

Richard Saul, Sean Seymour and Domenic Labella were charged with being concerned in the importation of controlled drugs, being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs and possession with intent to supply controlled drugs.

They appeared at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on Monday and were bailed until their next hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on 18 March.

Two others arrested on the boat were released on bail.

NCA Branch Commander Ty Surgeon said:

“The discovery of these drugs is the result of a painstaking and long running investigation into the trafficking of drugs through international waters into the UK.

“It is another fantastic example of the NCA working with partners, including the Dutch police and Prosecutor’s office, to tackle the upstream overseas drugs trade and stop the importation of a huge amount of ketamine we believe was destined for the streets of the UK.

“Anyone who thinks they can smuggle drugs into the UK should know that we will do everything at our disposal to stop your endeavours and protect the public.”

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