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Duo face jail over £200m drug plot

Two men were facing jail last night for their roles in a “high stakes” £200 million cocaine-smuggling plot.

The gang tried to smuggle 62 bales — more than 1,500kg (3,300lb) — of the drug into Ireland.

But they were foiled when their boat ran out of fuel in rough seas and was shipwrecked off the Irish coast in July 2007.

Retired Metropolitan Police detective Michael Daly (49) and Alan Wells (56) admitted their parts in the conspiracy and will be sentenced at a later date.

Mark Gadsden, prosecuting, told the court Daly was “pivotal” to the conspiracy, organising the logistics, purchasing the rigid-hull inflatable boat (Rib) and a rescue vessel and finding “safe houses” to be rented near the remote, disused pier where it was intended the drugs would be brought ashore.

Mr Gadsen added: “He was also one of the principals who was to have shared in the large profits which were to be made from this.”

Wells assisted Daly in the logistics, he continued.

Video footage and photos were shown to the jury to give them an idea of the weather conditions, as three-metre high waves crashed against the rocky cliffs.

Mr Gadsden said: “The weather conditions were quite bad. It was blowing a force five or six gale and there was a strong swell.

“The Rib got into difficulty, having run out of fuel, and ultimately it started to take in water and then had become submerged and dragged down by the engines so only the top part of the Rib was jutting out of the water when it was spotted by the lifeboat men.”

The cocaine had been taken on the Lucky Day catamaran from Barbados to a handover point off the Irish coast, the court heard.

The Lucky Day was bought in Florida for $110,000 in cash in March 2007 before mooring on the island of Margarita off the coast of Venezuela.

It set off with a Lithuanian crew from Barbados on May 25 for its 3,000-mile trip, Mr Gadsden said.

Belfast Telegraph

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