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Irish Nave Seizes €88m Worth of Cocaine and Three Men From Yahct

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    IRELAND - Three men from the north of England were arrested last night following the seizure of an estimated €88m of cocaine on a yacht during an operation which bears a striking resemblance to a drugs interception in 2008. The yacht, Marayabella, had been tracked by security services across the Atlantic since leaving Venezuela several weeks ago packed with 1,100 kilos of cocaine.

    She was intercepted by the LÉ Niamh and LÉ Roisín 500km south-west of Mizen Head during the early hours of Tuesday morning by armed boarding parties and was towed into the Naval Service headquarters at Haulbowline. The ship docked after 11pm last night. Security sources believe the men intended to land the cocaine somewhere in West Cork before transporting it to Britain.

    Six years ago Operation Seabight led to the boarding of the yacht Dances With Waves 211km off Mizen Head. Its cargo of €600m of cocaine had also been loaded in Venezuela and she was also intercepted by the two ships involved in the latest operation. Similarly she was crewed by three British men — Philip Doo, David Mufford and Christopher Wiggins — who were acting on the orders of mastermind John Alan Brooks who was later jailed for 28 years in Britain for his role in the cocaine shipment.

    It is possible the three men arrested last night were also once part of Brooks’ gang. Marayabella was also tracked by satellite across the Atlantic by the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre based in Lisbon. Manned by customs, police and military personnel from seven EU states, including Ireland, the centre was set up in 2007 to help intercept vessels trafficking drugs across the Atlantic.

    To date, it has helped seize more than 80 vessels and in excess of 81 tonnes of cocaine. The LÉ Niamh left port last week to shadow the yacht as she approached Irish waters, and LÉ Roisín joined the mission on Monday. The operation was conducted by the Joint Task Force comprising the Revenue Customs Service, Naval Service and gardaí.

    The Irish Examiner/Sept. 25, 2014
    Newhawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Major Cork Cocaine Haul Now Being Analyzed By Gardaí

    [IMGR=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=40578&stc=1&d=1411677890[/IMGR]IRELAND - Three men, believed to be British, are being questioned by Irish drugs squad officers today after a yacht was intercepted with a suspected cargo of cocaine believed to be worth around €80m.

    The 60ft Makayabella was stormed by the Irish Navy 200 nautical miles off Mizen Head – Ireland’s most southerly point – in the early hours of Tuesday morning. It was towed slowly to Haulbowline naval base in Cork harbour, arriving late last night. The cargo of drugs, believed to be about one tonne, remains on the vessel at the dock while the three suspects are being questioned by the Garda. The men were taken to the Bridewell station in Cork city where they can be held for a total of seven days.

    The interception followed intelligence from the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK and the French custom service, through the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre based in Lisbon. It is understood one person was arrested in West Yorkshire in a follow-up raid by the NCA in connection with the bust.

    Details of the naval operation were kept secret for more than a day-and-a-half. The men on board put up no resistance to the armed Irish Navy team who had launched on smaller rib boats from the offshore patrol vessel the LE Niamh. Another major coastal patrol vessel, the LE Roisin, provided back-up during the operation.

    The suspected one tonne haul of cocaine will have an estimated street value of €80m, with some estimates suggesting it could be even higher, depending on purity. If confirmed, it would be one of the biggest such drug seizures at sea in Europe this year. The arrested men can be held for an initial period of 48 hours before a district court judge must sign off on an extended period of detention.

    Later, The National Crime Agency confirmed a 43-year-old man had been arrested in the Leeds area. He was detained in the early hours of yesterday on suspicion of conspiring to import Class A drugs in an operation assisted by officers from West Yorkshire Police. He was subsequently bailed until January. “The arrest was directly linked to the seizure made by the Irish authorities,” an NCA spokesman said.

    The Makayabella, a charter yacht, was tracked from the Caribbean and the international investigation also involved Venezuelan authorities. All four people arrested in connection with the suspected smuggling plot are British passport holders and all are either originally from the West Yorkshire region or have connections to northern England.

    The passage around the south-west coast of Ireland has been well used in recent times by drugs smugglers bringing shipments from South America and Africa into Europe. In 2007, a record €440m of cocaine was seized in Dunlough Bay in west Cork when a UK gang botched an attempt to bring the massive haul ashore on a smaller boat and capsized in rough weather.

    Most of the group, including two Englishmen, were arrested in follow-up operations and eventually given lengthy prison sentences. Just a year later, a €400m haul was intercepted on the Dances With Waves yacht about 150 miles off Mizen Head. Three British men on board were later jailed for 10 years each for their part in the plot.

  2. Beenthere2Hippie
    Gardaí in the Midst of Figuring Out Irish Role in Drug Operation

    [IMGR=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=40590&stc=1&d=1411698613[/IMGR]CORK - While the focus of a €82m cocaine seizure off the Cork coast has firmly shifted to Britain, gardaí are still trying to ascertain if the drugs shipment may have been unloaded here before being retransported across the water. The haul is thought to be a significant portion of the annual British cocaine consumption.

    The gang behind the importation of the 1,025kg of cocaine are based in Yorkshire and three of their members caught on the drug-running yacht Makayabella, who are currently detained by gardaí — the skipper, aged 70, and two drugs mules, aged 35 and 28 — are also from the same region. Britain’s National Crime Agency also arrested two men believed to be associated with the intercepted shipment. One of them, aged 43, was released last night on police bail “pending further inquiries."

    A NCA spokeswoman said he was arrested in Leeds “on suspicion of conspiring to import class A drugs” and a 47-year-old from the same area remains in custody. Meanwhile, police are searching for another man who “has gone on the run” and said to be wanted as “he’s significant in terms of the investigation." The Makayabella’s charts will be analysed by experts to see if she was to have unloaded her cargo here before it was sent to Britain, or if she had intended to rendezvous with smaller boats off the coast of Anglesea, north Wales. That was the intended destination of the yacht Dances with Waves, which was intercepted by the navy in 2008 with €600m of cocaine onboard and it is possible that members of the same gang are involved with the Makayabella venture.

    Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney said gardaí could not rule out Irish connections and were investigating drugs gangs here who may provide a safe haven for importation off the south-west coast, or subsequently import cocaine from their British counterparts. One thing is certain, the amount of cocaine onboard the 19m yacht was not destined for the small Irish market.

    Security sources here estimate that, even during the heady days of the Celtic Tiger, about a third of the Makayabella cargo would have supplied Irish cocaine users for a year. While some cocaine may have filtered back to Ireland over the years from Britain, its usage there is gigantic in comparison. NCA boss Frank Cole said the Makayabella would only feed 5% of British annual consumption of cocaine. However, he was quick to praise the role of the Irish security services in seizing the cargo.

    “Thanks to the co-operation between the NCA and our Irish, French, and Venezuelan colleagues, we have managed to prevent this cocaine reaching our streets and causing damage to communities. I pay tribute to all those involved,” said Mr Cole.

    The Irish Navy, in co-operation with gardaí and customs, has to date intercepted 4.2 tonnes of cocaine shipments in and around our 1m sq km of territorial waters. A former Irish navy commander was responsible for setting up a seven-nation EU anti-drugs taskforce, the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre, to combat transatlantic drug shipments. Based in Portugal, it correlates information from military, police, and customs officials from the seven countries and was responsible for directing the seizure of the Makayabella.

  3. Beenthere2Hippie
    Police Say Seized Motor Boat Was Involved in Makayabella Yacht Cocaine Bust

    [IMGL=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=40614&stc=1&d=1411777251[/IMGL]CORK - British police have seized a motor boat which they believe was to transfer 1,100kg of cocaine from the yacht Makayabella on its final leg into Britain. National Crime Agency (NCA) officers seized the 25ft motor boat, Sea Breeze, at a marina in Pwllheli, North Wales, and are forensically examining it.

    The officers believe the boat was to rendezvous with the Makayabella somewhere in the Atlantic — a similarity with the interception off the Irish coast in 2008 of the yacht Dances With Waves, which had €600m worth of cocaine onboard.

    Like the Makayabella, Dances With Waves was loaded with the Class-A drug in Venezuela before travelling into the Caribbean and on to the Atlantic where it was intercepted by the Naval Service. It’s understood that the Sea Breeze was towed into Rosslare Harbour by the RNLI on September 19 after running out of fuel en route to Kilmore Quay. When customs officers searched the vessel they found three Englishmen onboard and a number of satellite phones.

    They reported this information to the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre, which is based in Portugal. The centre co-ordinated the interception of the Makayabella. The NCA said it had been granted more time by the British courts to question a 47-year-old man from the Leeds area. He was arrested last Thursday on suspicion of conspiring to import cocaine into Britain.

    A 43-year-old man arrested at an address in Leeds on Wednesday had earlier been released on police bail pending further enquiries. NCA branch commander David Norris said “it has been a complex and fast-moving investigation. He said his team’s enquiries were continuing and they still wished to speak to another individual in connection with the seizure.

    The man in question, who is said to be a 29-year-old from the Halton Moor area of Leeds, has gone on the run and Commander Norris urged him to give himself in for questioning.

    The Irish Examiner/Sept. 27, 2014
    Newshawk Crew
  4. Beenthere2Hippie
    Four Go to Court After Cocaine Yacht Seizure

    [IMGR=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=40622&stc=1&d=1411849340[/IMGR]IRELAND - Four British men appeared in court today accused of a plot to smuggle £100m (125m euro) in cocaine into the UK, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

    Stephen Powell, 47, was arrested following the seizure of around a tonne of cocaine on board the yacht Makayabella earlier this week, in an international operation involving the Irish Naval Service and the NCA. The capture of the craft, just off the coast of Ireland, was hailed as a major success for the whole of Europe by the Republic’s authorities. Mr Powell was remanded in custody when he appeared at Leeds Magistrates’ Court today charged with conspiracy to import cocaine, an NCA spokesman said.

    Three men detained on board the yacht were also charged by the Garda Siochana in Ireland with possessing cocaine with intent to import. Powell’s father John Powell, 70, of Silsden, West Yorkshire, appeared in a special sitting of Cork District Court last night, along with Benjamin Mellor, 35 and of Bradford, and Thomas Britteon, 28 and of Grimsby. They were remanded in custody and will appear by video link at the same court next Thursday.

    Meanwhile, Stephen Powell, of Guiseley, Leeds, will next appear at Leeds Crown Court on October 13. A 43-year-old man has been released on bail in West Yorkshire, while investigators have urged a sixth suspect, a 29-year-old man from the Halton Moor area of Leeds, to give himself up.

    The luxury yacht was found on Tuesday in poor condition in the Atlantic Ocean, 200 miles off the south west coast of Ireland, while investigators yesterday seized a 25ft motor boat called Sea Breeze, moored in Pwllheli, north Wales.

    Newsletter/Sept. 27, 2014
    Newshawk Crew
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