AFP helps with $300m drug bust in UK

By Gus McCubbing
The AFP has aided in the arrest of six men in the UK over more than two tonnes of cocaine. (AAP)

Australian authorities have played a role in a $300 million drug bust that targeted a luxury yacht in British waters.

The sting saw more than two tonnes of cocaine seized with six men, including five Nicaraguans and one Briton, arrested 130 kilometres off the coast of Plymouth, in England's southwest, on Friday.

Australian Federal Police and Border Force supported the British-led operation, with the suspects on board a Jamaican-flagged yacht sailing from the Caribbean.

Authorities found the drugs while carrying out a deep rummage search after the yacht was escorted back to the UK mainland.

The six men, aged between 24 and 49, are in custody on suspicion of drug trafficking.

"This is a massive haul of cocaine with an estimated street value of around 160 million pounds (more than $A300 million)," the United Kingdom's National Crime Agency deputy director Matt Horne said.

"There's no doubt these drugs would have been sold on into communities across the UK fuelling more crime and misery.

"Also, the arrests of the men transporting the drugs means the crime group has lost trusted offenders who would have been key to their operation."

AFP assistant commissioner Lesa Gale said the operation demonstrated the strength of the NCA's partnership with Australian authorities.

She added that intelligence gathered through Operation Ironside - Australia's investigation into the AnOm encrypted communications platform - enabled the AFP to help out.

"Operation Ironside has opened the door to unprecedented collaboration across law enforcement agencies around the globe," Ms Gale said.

"This result highlights the importance of the AFP's partnership with the NCA to combat offshore transnational organised crime that impacts both of our countries.

"The AFP and NCA have a strong, historic relationship and both agencies recognise the significant threat to national security posed by transnational organised crime."

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