Second boat linked to Cork cocaine haul seized in UK

Police believe the vessel was due to rendezvous with Makayabella yacht off the Irish coast

The 7.6metre long motor cruiser, Sea Breeze, was moored at a marina in Pwllheli in North Wales and she is now being forensically examined.

The 7.6metre long motor cruiser, Sea Breeze, was moored at a marina in Pwllheli in North Wales and she is now being forensically examined.

 

A British law enforcement agency has seized a vessel, which they believe was involved in a plan to collect up to €80 million of drugs off the Irish coast and smuggle it into the UK.

Officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK today seized a motor cruise, which they believe was due to rendezvous with the yacht, Makayabella, off the Irish coast this week.

The 7.6metre long motor cruiser, Sea Breeze, was moored at a marina in Pwllheli in North Wales and she is now being forensically examined.

NCA officers believed the gang planned to land the 41 bales of cocaine in North Wales and then transport them by road to the North East of England where they were based.

NCA Branch Commander David Norris, who is leading the investigation which has already seen two men in their 40s arrested in the Leeds area of West Yorkshire, said it has been a complex and fast moving investigatio involving law enforcement agencies in the UK, Ireland, Europe and South America.

“Our enquiries are continuing, and we still wish to speak to one other individual in connection with this, a 29-year-old man from the Halton Moor area of Leeds. I would urge him to contact us,” he said.

The Makayabella was intercepted by the Irish Naval Service ship LE Niamh supported by the LE Roisin in a Joint Task Force operation with gardaí and customs on Tuesday.

The yacht with three Britons on board was boarded by armed Naval Service personnel and brought into Haulbowline Naval Base with its cargo of a tonne of cocaine still on board.

The Irish authorities suspected the gang behind the smuggling operation had planned to send a local boat from North Wales to rendezvous with the Makayabella off the Irish coast.

Irish suspicions were aroused last week when the Welsh motor cruiser, Sea Breeze had to be towed into Rosslare Harbour after running out of petrol en route to Kilmore Quay.

Customs officials inspected the boat and spoke to the three English men on board when the boat was towed into Rosslare Harbour by Rosslare RNLI on September 19th.

Customs officials noted satellite phones on board and became suspicious, and passed on the information to the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre for Narcotics in Lisbon.

The Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre for Narcotics already had intelligence on the planned smuggling operation from the NCA in the UK and French customs.

They then tasked the Irish Joint Task Force on Drug Interdiction to intercept the Makayabella in the early hours of Tuesday morning some 402km west south west of the Mizen Head.

The three Britons on board were detained and transferred to the LE Roisin and were arrested under drug trafficking legislation when brought ashore at Haulbowline on Wednesday.

Detective are today continuing to question the three men who are aged 70, 35 and 28 and from West Yorkshire, at the Bridewell Garda Station in Cork city.

ends