Third man charged in relation to €157m drug seizure off Irish coast

Third suspect will appear in Wexford court over two tonnes of cocaine seized in Army Ranger Wing operation on bulk cargo ship

A third man is to appear in court after being charged in relation with the seizure of almost €160 million of cocaine on a bulk cargo ship off the coast of Ireland.

Gardaí said the man is expected to appear before Wexford District Court at 10.30am on Monday.

A total of 2,253kg of cocaine was found on the MV Matthew after members of the Army Ranger Wing captured the vessel off the Co Cork coast by abseiling from a helicopter last week.

Gardaí said the seizure was the largest in the history of the State.


Gardaí believe the cocaine, captured on board the cargo ship after the military operation at sea, was destined for distribution beyond Ireland, potentially into the United Kingdom and Europe.

A fishing trawler that grounded off the coast of Co Wexford late September 24th was also being monitored as part of the operation, amid suspicions it was en route to rendezvous with the cargo ship.

Two men who had been winched from that vessel were arrested and appeared before Waterford District Court last Friday.

Jamie Harbron (31), of South Avenue, Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, UK, and Ukrainian national Vitaliy Lapa (60), of no fixed abode, were charged with conspiracy to import drugs.

They were remanded in custody to appear at Wexford District Court via videolink on Monday.

Five other men have been arrested in relation to the case. One has been released without charge while the other four remain in custody. – PA