Belfast Telegraph

Cocaine bales used as seats on drugs ship

By Ed Carty and Brian Hutton

A drugs shipment on a yacht stormed by the Irish Navy was so large the crew was forced to use bales of cocaine as chairs for the weeks-long transatlantic voyage.

It also emerged that a pensioner skippered the 60ft Makayabella across the Atlantic Ocean packed with more than £100m worth of cocaine bound for the north of England.

The 70-year-old British suspect was arrested along with two other men, aged 35 and 28, during an overnight operation by armed Irish Navy teams which took them by surprise.

All three are from West Yorkshire, where police have arrested two other men, aged 45 and 47. A sixth man is being sought on suspicion of involvement in a massive drugs smuggling operation.

The yacht was tracked by authorities in several countries as it left Venezuela, stopping off in Trinidad, before being intercepted by an elite navy squad 200 nautical miles off Mizen Head – Ireland's most southerly point – in the early hours of Tuesday.

Security sources said the plot involved landing the consignment on the North Wales coast.

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