AN ISLE of Wight man has been charged as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into the seizure of cocaine worth £10 million at Newhaven in November 2019.

Jean-Pierre Labelle, 43, from Ashey Road, Ryde, was initially arrested by NCA officers in March, but was re-arrested on Saturday, June 27, and charged with importing class A drugs the next day.

Following an appearance at the Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court yesterday, he was remanded in custody.

The case has been adjourned until July 27 at Lewes Crown Court.

The NCA investigation follows a seizure made at Newhaven in East Sussex.

Border Force officers recovered 97 packages each containing approximately a kilo of cocaine from the back of a van carrying frozen fish.

The driver, James Satterley, 50, from Maidenhead, is charged with importing class A drugs.

NCA branch commander Peter Stevens said: “Working with partners like Border Force we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks involved in attempts to circumvent border controls.

“Illegal drugs are linked to violence on our streets and the exploitation of the vulnerable, that is why this type of crime is a priority for us.”

Tim Kingsberry, Border Force regional director, said: “This was an excellent seizure by Border Force officers, who have prevented a large amount of lethal Class A drugs from reaching the UK’s streets.

“Alongside our law enforcement partners, we will continue to do all we can to disrupt the international trade in drug smuggling.”