A LIVERPOOL man was allegedly caught by police in Spain with a £4m haul of cannabis in a boat.
Kenneth McHale, 55, was arrested when a patrol vessel from the paramilitary Guardia Civil intercepted a high-powered craft 20 miles off Motril, south of Granada, on the Spanish southern coast.
On board, police allegedly found 39 watertight bales of the drug weighing 1.4 tonnes and potentially worth £4.2m on the street.
Mr McHale and two Moroccans he was with on the boat were taken back to shore and into police custody.
After their arrest on Friday morning, the three men spent the weekend being questioned over the massive drugs haul before being put before a judge in Motril on Monday.
They were all charged with breaking Spain’s strict public health laws.
They will stand trial accused of putting the public health at risk by being in possession of such an amount of drugs.
The waters between northern Morocco and southern Spain are well patrolled by the Guardia Civil as drug runners regularly try to bring shipments into Europe from North Africa.
One source close to the Spanish police said: “The empty boat goes to Morocco and comes back laden with drugs.
“Quite often the people on the boat are merely the transporters.
“They are asked to pick something up and they go.
“Usually they take the risk of getting it back into Spain and then hand it over to the drug barons who sell it onto their customers.
“It could end up in Ireland, Russia, Britain, Spain, Holland. There are gangs from everywhere who have set up in the region looking to smuggle drugs back into their own country.”
McHale was the second of two Liverpool men arrested over drugs in Spain last week.
Anthony Kelly, 49, was allegedly stopped in the northern city of Santander last Wednesday with £500,000 of cannabis in his car.
Spanish prosecutors allege the drugs were bound for Britain.
Spain’s National Police allegedly found 681 separate packages hidden in secret compartments in a Vauxhall Astra registered to Kelly, who was booked on a ferry to Plymouth hours later.
Liverpool Echo 22nd June 2011
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