Early Sunday morning, as P&O's Arcadia was preparing to end one cruise and begin another, investigators from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the U.K. Border Agency swooped in and arrested seven passengers.
It is alleged that three women and one man -- all from Birmingham and Manchester -- had about 30 kilos of cocaine strapped to their bodies. The stash was worth £1.2 million. Arcadia was returning to Southampton after a 23-night cruise to the Caribbean.
After appearing in Southampton Magistrates Court on Monday, those four have been remanded in custody. The three other suspects have been released on bail. None of those arrested were crewmembers, according to HMRC.
A spokesperson for P&O Cruises confirmed the raid and issued a statement saying: "The matter is now in the hands of the police and other relevant authorities, and we are cooperating fully with the investigation."
Arcadia departed, as scheduled, on its latest cruise -- a 14-night Mediterranean voyage -- and is currently at sea, en route to Vigo, Spain.
--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor
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Drug Raid on P&O's Arcadia Nets £1.2 Million
October 20, 2008