Published On: Thu, Oct 2nd, 2014 on 10:57 pm

Arrests made after yacht seized in £100m cocaine raid

Yacht Cocaine Raid

One tonne of cocaine seized. Image courtesy: National Crime Agency

Yacht Cocaine Raid

The yacht intercepted by the Irish Navy. Image courtesy: National Crime Agency

Yacht Cocaine RaidYacht Cocaine Raid

Arrests have been made in connection with a plot to smuggle cocaine to the UK on board a 60ft yacht.

The Makayabella yacht was stormed by the Irish Navy on 23 September around 200 miles off the coast of Ireland after being tracked across the Atlantic as it left Venezuela.

An estimated one tonne of cocaine was then seized as part of the operation involving the National Crime Agency and Irish, French and Venezuelan authorities.

The National Crime Agency valued the haul at around £100m and three men on board, all from the West Yorkshire area, were detained and taken to the Irish mainland for questioning.

Stephen Powell, 47, of Guiseley, Leeds, was charged and appeared before Leeds Magistrates on 27 September.

He was remanded in custody until 13 October when he is due to appear at Leeds Crown Court.

John Powell, 70, of Silsden; Benjamin Mellor, 35, of Bradford; and Thomas Britteon, 28, of Grimsby, appeared at a special sitting of Cork District Court. They were remanded in custody and will appear by video link at the same court next Thursday.

A 29-year-old man from Leeds arrested on 29 September has been bailed pending further enquiries.

A 55-year-old woman arrested at an address in West Yorkshire as part of the same investigation has also been bailed.

A 43-year-old man arrested by the National Crime Agency at an address in Leeds on 24 September was subsequently bailed pending further enquiries.

Hank Cole, head of international operations for the National Crime Agency, said: “NCA investigators were part of the effort to identify and track the boat across the Atlantic from the Caribbean, leading to its eventual interception off the coast of Ireland. This was a large seizure and our investigation is ongoing.

“Thanks to the co-operation between the NCA and our Irish, French and Venezuelan colleagues, we have managed to prevent this cocaine reaching our streets and causing damage to communities.”

About the Author

Hasan Faridi

- Hasan is the founder and editor-in chief of the Yorkshire Standard. A BA Hons graduate from the University of Huddersfield, he has over four years of experience in newspapers, magazines and radio.

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