Cab to auction boat seized in €440m west Cork drug raid


THE 35-foot catamaran Lucky Day seized in the €440 million west Cork drug haul is to be auctioned by the Criminal Assets Bureau next month.

Two rigid inflatables, four outboard engines, two trailers and three 4x4 vehicles used in the botched attempt to smuggle cocaine are also being sold on behalf of the Criminal Assets Bureau by Cork auctioneer Dominic J Daly on March 23rd.

The 13-year-old catamaran was previously maintained by Austrian owners. It is in “very good condition” at a berth in La Coruna, Spain, according to Mr Daly.

It was bought for $132,000 over the internet and was described as “in flawless condition” when advertised, with two forward staterooms, one in each hull, queen-size beds in both, two large “heads” or toilets and eight berths in all.

One of the two inflatable and one of the four outboards used for the cocaine smuggling are not in good condition, as the inflatable stalled after diesel had been put in one of its petrol engines. It was swept in a heavy swell into Dunlough Bay, where it capsized and three men on board were thrown into the sea. One of the three men made it ashore and raised the alarm at the home of a farmer. Another man also made it ashore but fled. The third man was found floating in the sea suffering from hypothermia.

The 27-day crossing was tracked using details of calls made to and from the vessel. Satellite calls from Medellin and Bogota in Colombia were made to the catamaran as it sailed off the coast of Venezuela.

Martin Wanden (46), Perry Wharrie (49) and Joe Daly (42) were arrested and tried at Cork Circuit Criminal Court where they were convicted by a jury of 10 men and two women following 42 days of evidence.

Wanden, of no fixed abode, and Wharrie, Pyrles Lane, Loughton, Essex, were jailed for 30 years, while Daly, Carrisbrook Avenue, Bexley, Kent, was sentenced to 25 years by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin for their parts in smuggling 1.5 tonnes of cocaine. A fourth man, Gerard Hagan (24), Hollowcroft, Liverpool, was jailed for 10 years after he pleaded guilty to possessing the drugs for sale or supply.

Three men were charged in Britain and are before the courts. John Edney (57), of Main Road, Sutton-at-Hone, Kent, whose trial opened this month, denies conspiracy to supply cocaine. He is accused of supplying the 4x4 vehicles. Michael Daly (49), a retired Metropolitan police officer who organised the logistics, and Alan Wells (56), have both pleaded guilty.

Both were charged with conspiracy to possess for supply the cocaine seized by gardaí, customs and the Naval Service off Dunlough Bay, Mizen Head, Co Cork on July 2nd, 2007.