UK Sentences Turkish Sailors to 42 Years for Drug Smuggling

Two Turkish sailors have been jailed for a total of 42 years in relation to the largest ever seizure of cocaine in the UK made in April 2015 some 100 miles off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Following a joint operation of UK-based National Crime Agency (NCA), Border Force and Royal Navy in the North Sea, more than three tons of cocaine was found in a tank in the hull of the ocean-going tug MV Hamal, with a street value of GBP 512 million.

An investigation into the incident, conducted by the National Crime Agency, led to the 42-year sentence made at the High Court in Glasgow in connection with the seizure.

During the search of the vessel, conducted in April, Hamal’s crew of nine men all aged between 26 and 63 were detained for questioning by investigators from the UK-based National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command, and later charged with drug trafficking offences.

After a trial at the High Court in Glasgow, which lasted for 12 weeks, ship captain Mumin Sahin, 47, and first mate Emin Ozmen, 51, were both found guilty of two counts of drug trafficking on July 11.

On August 12, Sahin and Ozmen were sentenced to 22 years and 20 years, respectively.

The charges against four crew members were found not proven, while three others had been acquitted earlier in the proceedings.

The drugs on board the Hamal began their journey in South America in March 2015. As part of their investigation NCA officers were able to prove that over the following weeks the vessel sailed from Guyana across the Atlantic to Tenerife, and from there around the north of Scotland, through the Pentland Firth and into the North Sea.

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