Referring to it as one of the largest drug seizures in the province’s history, police announced yesterday that they seized a tonne of cocaine from a sailboat at the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

“(Cocaine) is jet fuel that drives the organized-crime engine,” said Chief Supt. Bob Harriman as he gestured to the 1,001 beige bricks that were on display in a neatly stacked, Scarface-sized horde at RCMP headquarters in Vancouver.

Solicitor general Kash Heed said the cocaine would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars if sold on the street.

A routine airplane patrol on March 6 spotted the sailboat northwest of Cape Scott, the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island.

The vessel, named the SV Huntress, was registered as a fishing vessel, not a sailboat.

Suspicious, authorities began surveillance of the boat, which was met offshore by a black zodiac and began the offloading of the cocaine.

The Huntress, which had sailed from Panama, docked at Port Hardy and the two men aboard were arrested.

A search of the off-load site found 37 duffle bags loaded with 1,001 one-kilogram bricks of cocaine, stamped with the numbers 5 and 1.

Scott Pedersen, 39, of Victoria, and Vicente Hernandez, 38, of Mexico, were charged Friday in Victoria provincial court with one count each of possession for the purpose of trafficking.

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