Leeds & West Yorkshire

Cocaine haul: Sixth man arrested over yacht drug raid

Makayabella yacht Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption The Irish navy intercepted the yacht Makayabella after it was tracked from Venezuela

A sixth man has been arrested over the seizure of more than a tonne of cocaine off the coast of Ireland.

The 29-year-old from Leeds attended a police station on Sunday night in connection with the discovery of £100m of the drug on the Makayabella yacht.

He is being questioned by the UK National Crime Agency.

Three West Yorkshire men and another from Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire have appeared in court on charges related to the drug smuggling plot.

Stephen Powell, 47, of Netherfield Road, Guiseley, was charged with conspiring to import class A drugs and appeared before Leeds Magistrates' Court on Saturday.

He was remanded in custody and will next appear at Leeds Crown Court on 13 October.

Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption It is thought the Sea Breeze was also part of the drugs operation

Powell's father, John Powell, 70, of Silsden, Benjamin Mellor, 35, of Bradford and Thomas Britteon, 28, of Grimsby, appeared before Cork District Court on Friday.

They were remanded in custody and will appear at the same court on Thursday.

A 43-year-old Leeds man has been released on police bail.

The sea raid followed a covert surveillance operation to track the 60ft yacht from Venezuela, until it was intercepted in the Atlantic about 200 miles (322km) off the south west coast of Ireland.

Intelligence sources said it was understood the drugs were heading for the north Wales coast.

Investigators also seized a second vessel, the motorboat Sea Breeze, at Pwllheli in Gwynedd, on Friday.

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