Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 15:33 UK

Drugs find ship sailor is charged

HMS Manchester - Royal Navy
HMS Manchester had been involved in counter-narcotics training

A Royal Navy sailor has appeared in court charged with smuggling cocaine into Britain on a warship.

Teresa Matos, 36, was arrested after HMS Manchester docked in Plymouth, Devon, on 10 August.

Junior rating Matos was charged with being concerned in smuggling drugs after 12kg of cocaine was allegedly found in bags in her personal quarters.

Ms Matos entered no plea and was remanded in custody to appear before city magistrates on 15 September.

Men arrested

The ship was en route to its base in Portsmouth following a seven-month deployment across the Atlantic and South Pacific.

The Type 42 destroyer had spent time in Cape Verde for counter-narcotics training with the islands' coastguard and had also visited America, the Falkland Islands, Brazil and Colombia.

Angolan-born Ms Matos, of Contsworth Court, Gateshead, was arrested by Royal Navy police and handed over to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in Plymouth during a planned anchorage, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) said.

Soca said three civilian men from the London area had also been charged with drug smuggling in connection with the discovery.

The men, who have not been identified, appeared before Portsmouth magistrates on 14 August and were also remanded in custody.

The Ministry of Defence said it would cooperate fully with any investigation that involved service personnel.

It said: "The Royal Navy demands the highest standard of conduct of its personnel, and anyone who falls short of that is dealt with robustly."

HMS Manchester returned to Portsmouth on 11 August.



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