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Dutch pair to face trial after 1.6 tonnes cocaine seized in Channel

UK News | Published:

The two men are accused of being involved in trying to import the drugs haul which was intercepted by the National Crime Agency off Cornwall.

A boat being unloaded at Newlyn harbour

Two men accused of attempting to smuggle 1.6 tonnes of cocaine into the UK are to face trial next year.

Dutch nationals Maarten Peter Pieterse, 59, and Emile Adriaan Jeroen Schoemaker, 44, appeared at Bristol Crown Court, where they were each accused of a drug importation offence.

The pair are charged with being “knowingly concerned in the carrying or concealing of controlled drug of Class A, namely cocaine, on the SY Marcia knowing or having reasonable grounds to suspect that the drug was intended to be imported or had been exported contrary to Section 3(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act”.

English Channel drugs seizure
Maarten Peter Pieterse, left, and Emile Adriaan Jeroen Schoemaker appearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court in July (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

They were arrested last month after the Netherlands-registered SY Marcia was intercepted off the coast of south-west Cornwall and escorted to Newlyn.

The National Crime Agency called the operation a “significant seizure of cocaine” but has yet to disclose the exact quantity recovered, although a court has previously heard that 1.6 tonnes of cocaine was found.

Pieterse and Schoemaker, who are of no fixed address in the UK, appeared before the court via video-link from HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire.

The SY Marcia
The Netherlands-registered SY Marcia was intercepted off the coast of Cornwall (National Crime Agency/PA)

They did not enter pleas and Judge Martin Picton told them they would face a two-week trial beginning on January 14.

No applications for bail were made and the two defendants were remanded into custody to attend a further plea and case management hearing on September 21.

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