Five men have been found guilty in Britain for conspiring to import 1.4 tonnes of cocaine on a yacht that was under surveillance by the Irish Navy and Air Corps as it travelled across 200 miles of Irish waters last August.
The agencies were tasked by the EU's Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre Narcotics (MAOC-N) on foot of intelligence gathered by the British National Crime Agency.
They located and identified the yacht, named Nomad, on the extremity of Irish waters and tracked it before British Border Force units took charge and brought it into Cornwall.
Five men, including UK nationals Nigel Clark, 64, and Dean Waters, 59, and Dutchman Raymond Dijkstra, 27, were found guilty at Bristol Crown Court yesterday. An Estonian and Latvian have previously pleaded guilty.
The cocaine had a wholesale value of £44.8m (€51.5m) and a street value of £112m (€128m). The NCA yesterday cited the Irish Navy and the Irish Air Corps.
In a statement, the Defence Forces said: “Defence Forces Naval & Air Corps assets took part in a Maritime Analysis Operations Centre (Narcotics) coordinated operation at sea in August 2018. The Operation led to the detention of a yacht, NOMAD, by UK Border Force on 29 August 2018.
“The Inter Agency operation included an Irish Naval vessel and an Irish Air Corps Maritime Patrol Aircraft that conducted a surveillance operation off the South Coast prior to the detention.
“The detained vessel was boarded and detained by the UK Border Force in UK waters as part of a UK National Crime Agency (NCA) operation.”