SIX men have appeared in court charged with drug trafficking offences after more than two tons of cocaine were seized on board a luxury yacht.

Andrew Cole, 32, from Stockton-on-Tees, appeared at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on Monday alongside Nicaraguan nationals Billy Downs, 49, Denson White-Morales, 34, Edwin Taylor-Morgan, 40, Brynie Sjogreen, 38, and Ryan Taylor, 42.

The men were arrested on Thursday evening 80 miles off the coast of Plymouth on board a luxury yacht, the Kahu, in an operation led by the National Crime Agency, supported by Border Force and the Australian Federal Police.

Prosecuting, Gareth Warden told magistrates that officers boarded the vessel and seized a “large number of bags and holdalls” containing cocaine.

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“The initial street value is estimated at £160 million,” Mr Warden told the court.

“Clearly the matter is far too serious to be dealt with in this court.”

Representatives for the six defendants made no application for bail and they were remanded into custody.

They are each charged with being knowingly concerned in the supply or concealing of a Class A drug, namely cocaine, on the Kahu between August 21 and September 10 this year.

It is alleged that they knew or had reasonable grounds to suspect that the drugs were intended to be imported or had been exported in contravention of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Magistrates sent the case to Plymouth Crown Court, where the six defendants will appear at 10am on October 18.

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