Six men accused of trafficking two tons of cocaine worth an estimated £ 160million could now face two trials next year.
Plymouth Crown Court has heard that there is not a single courtroom on the circuit that can accommodate all defendants on the same platform.
The court must, by law, strive to hold the trial within a certain timeframe if suspects are in custody – which all men are.
Read more: Disability claimant “played squash and attended fitness classes”
Judge William Mousley has said no Western Circuit court can accommodate the trial, which is due to start on March 9 next year.
The Crown Prosecution Service will now decide whether to lobby for two trials involving smaller groups.
A previous judge said managing prisoners was made more difficult due to restrictions on coronaviruses.
The defendants did not attend the last hearing but were represented by their lawyers.
They were arrested after a luxury yacht was stopped in the English Channel 80 miles from the mainland coast and brought to Plymouth two months ago.
Five of the six men believed to be on the Kahu have pleaded not guilty to a joint count of drug trafficking.
One Briton Andrew Cole, 32, of Norton Road, Stockton-on-Tees, has been allowed to postpone his plea.
The six defendants are accused of knowingly being concerned with the transport or concealment of a Class A drug on a ship in Plymouth between August 21 and September 10.
They would have known or had reasonable grounds to suspect that the cocaine was being smuggled into the UK.
Nicaraguan Billy Downs, 50, Denson White-Morales, 35, Edwin Taylor-Morgan, 40, Brynie Sjogreen, 39, and Ryan Taylor, 43, have all pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said the six men were on board the yacht Kahu when it was arrested in international waters near Guernsey on September 9.
Border Force and National Crime Agency agents intercepted and embarked the Kahu, finding two tons of cocaine worth an estimated £ 160million.
Australian Federal Police were also involved.
Border Force Maritime Command’s 42-meter “Searcher” cutter and 19-meter coastal patrol vessel “Alert” had followed the yacht.
Get the best stories about the things you love most curated by us and delivered to your inbox every day. Choose what you like here
Read more: Tavistock man caught in drug trafficking
Read more: Urgent advocacy as Derriford hospital faces exceptional challenges