Pair face life in jail over £580m Ireland drugs haul

Two British men are facing up to life behind bars after admitting their part in Ireland’s largest ever drugs seizure.

The record 1.9 ton haul of cocaine worth up to €675m (£595m) was recovered by elite navy teams on board a yacht as it struggled to stay afloat in the Atlantic Ocean.



Philip Doo from Devon and Christopher Wiggins of Costa del Sol in Spain pleaded guilty over their part in the elaborate international drug smuggling ring that was smashed 170 miles off the south west coast of Ireland.



The pair were caught after Irish navy, gardai and customs swooped on the 60ft ocean-going boat Dances With Waves off Cork last November acting on intelligence from agencies as it was tracked from South America.



Senior drug officers said the stash was destined for dealers in mainland Europe.



Doo, 52, and Wiggins, 42, admitted possession of cocaine with intent to sell or supply during a brief hearing in Cork Circuit Criminal Court, yesterday.



The two spoke quietly as they entered their guilty pleas in the packed courtroom and showed no emotion as they were led away by prison guards.



The pair are facing anything from 10 years in prison to a maximum life sentence.



Tough anti-drug laws were introduced last year as part of amendments to the Criminal Justice Act as the Government sought harsher penalties for dealers and others involved in gangsterism.



Included in the crackdown was a mandatory 10 years in jail for any drug seizure worth more than €13,000 (£11,470).



Doo from Rocklands House, Higher Manor Road, Brixham, Devon, and Wiggins with an address at Mirador de Costalita, Estepona, Malaga, were remanded in custody by Judge Patrick J Moran.



They will be sentenced on 8 May.



A third British man will appear in court on Monday in relation to the seizure.



The haul — the largest in the history of the Irish state — was discovered in the hull of the ocean-going yacht about a month after the boat came to the attention of authorities in the Caribbean.



In treacherous seas, naval teams stood by to swoop on the damaged vessel.



Elite members of Ireland’s naval service were forced to board the stricken vessel under Operation Seabight amid fears it was about to overturn in storm force winds late on 5 November.



Doo and Wiggins were arrested.



Loaded with 75 bales of cocaine, it had been tracked by Europe’s anti-drug trafficking agency Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre — Narcotics (MAOC-N) across the Atlantic before Irish authorities moved in.



Under armed guard the yacht was sailed to Castletownbere, west Cork, where bales which filled the yacht’s hull were unloaded and stacked on the quayside.



Locals claimed isolated parts of Ireland’s rugged coastline have for years been a haven for international drug smugglers targeting Europe.

This article is from The Belfast Telegraph

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
tennisLive: Follow all the updates from Melbourne as Murray faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the semi-final
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Arts and Entertainment
'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows' by John Constable
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
musicYou'll have to ask Taylor Swift first
News
Joel Grey, now 82, won several awards for his role in Cabaret
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: SQL DBA (SSIS, ETL) - London, £60k

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL DBA (SSIS, ETL) - Central London, £60,000...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Recruitment Genius: Service Agent / QA Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an est...

Recruitment Genius: C# / XAML Developer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity for a talented...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness