Three charged over Cork drugs haul


THREE ENGLISH men including a former detective sergeant in the London Metropolitan Police have been arrested in London in relation to their alleged role in an attempt to smuggle cocaine valued at €440 million into Ireland two years ago.

The drugs had been sailed across the Atlantic to the Cork coast for smuggling on to the UK.

However, as the shipment was being brought ashore at Dunlough Bay, Co Cork, a small landing craft capsized, tipping the 1.5 tonne haul and the would-be smugglers into the sea.

Four men were arrested in Ireland and have already been prosecuted and jailed here.

However, gardaí and the authorities in the UK have continued to investigate the case with a view to bringing charges against other suspects.

That joint operation has now resulted in the arrest of three more men in London, all of whom have been charged and are in custody there. The men were arrested over the weekend.

Michael Daly (49), a former police detective sergeant of no fixed abode was arrested on Sunday. He was charged with conspiracy to possess for supply some 1,554 kilos of cocaine seized by gardaí, Customs and the Navy off Dunlough Bay, Mizen Head, on July 2nd, 2007.

Daly, who has family links with the Kilcrohane area of the Sheep’s Head peninsula in west Cork, was remanded in custody to appear again at either Blackfriars crown court or the Old Bailey on August 7th next.

Last Friday John Gary Edney (57), East Hill, South Darenth, Kent, was charged at Highbury magistrates court with the same offence. Alan Roger Wells (55) from Blenheim Road, Sidcup, Kent, was also charged at Highbury magistrates court last Friday with the same offence.

Edney and Wells were remanded in custody and will appear before the courts in London on August 11th.

The drugs at the centre of the case were brought from Venezuela to Barbados where the haul was collected by a catamaran, The Lucky Day, crewed by two Lithuanians.

They were joined on board by Gerard Hagan for the transatlantic voyage. By the time they left Barbados in late May, the drugs gang had already rented two properties on the Sheep’s Head peninsula under the guise of English tourists on a fishing holiday.

The smuggling operation went awry when someone put diesel in the petrol engine of a rigid inflatable boat that stalled and capsized.

Gerard Hagan (24) from Hollowcroft, Liverpool was jailed for 10 years by Judge Seán Ó Donnabhain at Cork Circuit Criminal Court last November after he pleaded guilty.

Martin Wanden (46) of no fixed abode and Perry Wharrie (49) from Pyrles Lane, Loughton, Essex, were both jailed for 30 years. Joe Daly (42) from Carrisbrook Ave, Bexley, Kent, was jailed for 25 years. He is a brother of Michael Daly, one of the men now in custody in London.