Early this morning, the Royal Gibraltar Police commenced a chase at sea with a suspect RHIB which was first spotted at Emerson’s Place by an RGP land patrol.

The RGP Marine Section then took over and immediately deployed to the area in order to intercept the RHIB.  A high speed chase followed in the waters off the western side, during which, bales were constantly being thrown from the RHIB.

At this stage, Customs vessel HMC Searcher took over the pursuit and the suspect vessel continued to jettison more cargo in BGTW. It then rammed into HMC Searcher, causing it significant damage. HM Customs officers boarded the suspect vessel and arrested four occupants. Additionally, the officers seized the vessel which was still loaded with a large number of bales.

Whilst HM Customs conveyed the detainees and RHIB to the Customs Marine Base, the RGP and GDP Marine Section initiated a search and recovery of the cannabis bales .

In total, 65 bales were seized amounting to a total of approximately 2.6 tonnes with a street value of £13million. The four individuals are currently detained at New Mole House.

HM Customs have said that the investigation continues.

Both Commissioner of Police Richard Ullger and Acting Collector of Customs Christian Borrell agree that the success of this operation was due to the excellent cooperation between our two law enforcement agencies. The Commissioner and the Collector express their gratitude to the crews who performed so well under very dangerous and risky conditions

The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP said: "It is ironic that this excellent operation, the fruit of cooperation between the RGP and Customs, should come on the same day we have published our bill to also further clamp down on possession of fuel canisters, a business designed to assist those who are in the drug trade. The magnificent work of the RGP and HM Customs has today dealt a huge blow to the drug traffickers. Gibraltar stands against every aspect of this nefarious trade and our brilliant law enforcement agencies are doing great work in stopping these criminals and demonstrating that the good people of Gibraltar deplore this illicit activity."