Police in Ghana are holding an Englishman suspected of being behind a plot to smuggle $145 million (78 million pounds) worth of cocaine seized earlier this year, Ghanaian narcotics officials said on Tuesday.
Craig Alexander Pinnick, 53, from Grimsby, was arrested in a West African country on July 9, Isaac Akuoko, executive secretary of the Ghana Narcotics Control Board, said.
"We've been looking for him for more than six months. We found him with the help of Interpol in a West African country. But I can't disclose which country," Akuoko said.
Police have charged Pinnick, who has been resident in Ghana for 10 years, with importation and possession, and engaging in criminal conspiracy to commit an offence relating to narcotic drugs, according to Akuoko.
In January, Ghanaian narcotics agents discovered 674 kg (1,486 lbs) of cocaine at the home of Briton Kevin Gorman, 59, in Tema, a port city near Accra following a two-year investigation.
European anti-drug officials say Latin American drug cartels are using West African countries more and more as a route to evade the authorities and smuggle narcotics into Europe.
Officials said several Colombian cartels had set up smuggling rings in Senegal, Togo, Ghana and Mauritania. Cocaine from Latin America is first shipped to West Africa and then sent on to Europe in normal shipping containers, they say.
Pinnick was expected to appear in court on July 27. Each offence carries a minimum of 10 years in prison. Pinnick, a marine cargo technician, is married with a 24-year-old son.
Gorman, three other Britons and a 45-year-old German, Sven Herb, are currently on trial for drugs importation, possession and conspiracy offences.
The other British suspects are David Logan and Frank Laverick, both 43, and directors of a company called Ocean Maritime in Gibraltar, and Alan Hodgson, retired building manager from Wales.
Akuoko said Pinnick and Herb, a boat skipper, were responsible for picking up the drugs from the high seas off boats believed to have originated from South America.