Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight £90m cocaine yacht trial: Two men jailed

Piotr Pachnia (left) and Thomasz Dylik
Image caption Piotr Pachnia (left) and Thomasz Dylik were both jailed

Two men caught in possession of £90m worth of cocaine on a yacht off the Isle of Wight have been jailed.

Piotr Pachnia, 33, was sentenced to 24 years in jail after being convicted of possessing 450kgs (1,000lb) of the class A drug following a trial.

Tomasz Dylik, 48, captain of the yacht Baila where the haul was found in June last year, was jailed for 18-and-a-half years after admitting the same charge.

The seizure was one of the largest ever in the UK, border officials said.

'Sophisticated operation'

Pachnia, of no fixed abode, and Dylik were arrested after UK Border Agency officials found the cocaine during a search of the vessel at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard.

Image caption Some cocaine packages were hidden in a holdall

Three officers had earlier boarded the yacht when it entered UK territorial waters having sailed from the Caribbean.

They had tracked the vessel for about 24 hours from waters off the coast of Plymouth until it was 11 miles (18km) south of St Catherine's Point on the Isle of Wight.

The officials then escorted Baila to Portsmouth amid suspicions illegal drugs could be hidden on board. Three swab tests had revealed traces of illegal substances.

Judge Susan Evans at Winchester Crown Court said the drugs were so well hidden that sniffer dogs could not trace them.

But on searching the yacht officers discovered more than 470 packages and cylinders of cocaine.

The cocaine, which had an average 90% purity, was found behind false walls, hidden in compartments and a holdall.

Judge Evans said the pair had been involved in a "sophisticated and well planned operation to import a massive amount of cocaine".

Sentencing the pair she said: "If you had landed that cargo the misery inflicted upon drug addicts, with the contribution towards drug-related crime, would have been enormous."

The yacht has since been forfeited and an order has been made for the cocaine to be destroyed.

Dylik is registered to an address in Lask, Poland, but the UK Border Agency said he had lived on his yacht "for a number of years".

A confiscation hearing will be held at a later date to recoup any money the men made through criminal activity.

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