A British mechanic was cleared by a court in the UK today of playing a role in smuggling €227m of cocaine into the Republic of Ireland.
John Edney was accused of arranging three Land Rovers for use by a gang trying to smuggle more than 1,500kg (3,300lb) of the drug into the country in July 2007.
But a jury of six men and six women at London’s Blackfriars Crown Court today found him not guilty of conspiring to supply class A drugs.
Edney, 57, from Sutton-at-Hone, Kent, breathed a loud sigh of relief in the dock at the back of the court as he was cleared.
He had told the jury he thought the 4x4s were going to be used at a fishing complex in France and said he had no idea there was any link with a drugs plot.
The men behind the plot tried to land 62 bales of cocaine, which weighed 1,554kg, on a remote point of the Republic of Ireland using a rigid hull inflatable boat (Rhib).
Prosecutors, who described the plan as “high stakes”, said the drugs were transferred to the Rhib from a catamaran which had crossed the Atlantic from the Caribbean.
But the boat ran out of fuel in rough seas off the Irish coast on July 2, 2007, and began to sink, leaving Gerard Hagan and Joe Daly to swim ashore near Dunlough Bay in County Cork.
Martin Wanden had to be rescued by helicopter and was taken to hospital, where he gave a false name.
Wanden, Daly and a third man, Perry Wharrie, were convicted after a trial in Cork while Hagan pleaded guilty.
Retired Metropolitan Police detective Michael Daly, 49, who organised the logistics, and Alan Wells, 56, have also admitted their parts in the conspiracy.
They will be sentenced at a later date.