Belfast Telegraph

Three charged in yacht drugs probe

Three more people have been charged over an international drugs bust off the coast of Ireland last year.

The luxury yacht Makayabella was intercepted in September after crossing the Atlantic with a one-tonne cargo of cocaine from South America on board destined for the UK market.

The National Crime Agency (NCA), which spearheaded the investigation, confirmed charges were brought against three people at Wakefield Magistrates Court in the UK yesterday in connection with the alleged smuggling.

David Webster, 44, of Rillmead, Otley, West Yorkshire; Philip McElhone, 29, of Freemantle Place, Halton Moor, Leeds; and Dawne Powell, 56 of Netherfield Road, Guiseley, Leeds, were charged with conspiracy to import cocaine. Powell was also charged with money-laundering.

All three were remanded to appear at Leeds Crown Court on April 8, the NCA said.

It is believed the drugs, which came from Venezuela, would have had a street value in excess of £160 million.

The Makayabella was intercepted in poor condition by Irish authorities in the Atlantic Ocean, 200 miles off the south west coast of Ireland, while investigators also seized a 25ft motor boat called Sea Breeze, moored in Pwllheli, north Wales.

Two men are awaiting trial in the Republic in connection with the seizure.

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