Cocaine-yacht gang facing prison
A gang arrested off the Cornish coast as they tried to smuggle cocaine valued at £10m into the UK are facing jail.
Their 35ft yacht Ronin was en-route from the Caribbean with 91kg of cocaine on board when it was stopped by a Royal Navy ship in September 2008.
Southwark Crown Court heard the boat had been tracked by customs officers.
Douglas Wood, 59, of Sandwich, Kent, was convicted on Friday of conspiring to evade the prohibition on importing cocaine.
Skipper David Coxon, 43, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and on-shore organiser Patrick Walsh, 40, of Watford, Hertfordshire, have already admitted their role in the plot.
The court heard that Walsh, using a false name and passport, went on a scouting trip in 2008 to port of Spain in Trinidad in search of a ship.
In March, he bought the Ronin and experienced sailor Wood was recruited to make sure the vessel was seaworthy.
In July, Wood and Coxon sailed the Ronin to Guyana on the Caribbean coast of South America, where they picked up their cocaine cargo, wrapped up in 1kg packages.
The pair set off from Guyana on 8 August and arrived in British coastal waters five weeks later.
But customs officers had been tracking their progress and Wood and Coxon were caught with the drugs when the Ronin was boarded by personnel from the HMS Argyll on 12 September.
The gang members are expected to be sentenced on 18 January at Southwark Crown Court.
Friday, 11 December 2009
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