Cornwall

Cocaine smuggling: Five jailed over £112m UK trafficking bid

The scene when the Nomad arrived in Newlyn Image copyright NEWLYN FISHING
Image caption The gang's catamaran Nomad was taken to Newlyn, Cornwall, with 1.4 tonnes of cocaine on board

Five members of a gang who tried to smuggle cocaine worth about £112m into the UK have been jailed.

The two British men and three Europeans were found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine, after a trial at Bristol Crown Court.

They were arrested after their 60ft catamaran was intercepted in August 2018 and taken to Newlyn, Cornwall, with 1.4 tonnes of cocaine on board.

It was one of the biggest ever seizures of Class A drugs by UK authorities.

Image copyright NCA
Image caption Nigel Clark and Dean Waters were arrested in Hayle

UK nationals Nigel Clark, 64, and Dean Waters, 60, of no fixed address, who were arrested on land at nearby Hayle in Cornwall, were each jailed for 28 years.

Richard Must, 49, from Estonia, who was skipper of the catamaran Nomad, was jailed for 30 years.

Crew member Raymond Dijkstra, 27, from the Netherlands, was jailed for 18 years and fellow crew member Voldemars Gailis, 21, from Latvia was jailed for 16 years.

Image copyright NCA
Image caption Raymond Dijkstra, Voldemars Gailis and Richard Must were found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine

Judge Martin Picton said the men were guilty of "international drugs smuggling of the highest order".

He said the men had hoped to secure "enormous profits" and that if their attempt to import the cocaine had been successful they would have "flooded UK drugs markets and contributed to significant social harm".

Image copyright NCA
Image caption Hatches of the catamaran revealed compartments full of bags of cocaine

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The crew had left Plymouth, Devon, in June and sailed down towards South America, where the cocaine was loaded from another ship.

They were intercepted off the southern coast of the Irish republic by Border Force on 29 August.

Clark and Waters had been preparing to use a small boat to collect the drugs from the Nomad and bring them ashore when they were arrested.

All the men will serve a minimum of half their sentences in prison before being considered for release under licence.

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