Lancashire

Cocaine plot Ghana fugitive jailed

David McDermott Image copyright NCA
Image caption McDermott was a member of a Liverpool-based gang involved in a conspiracy to import and supply 400kg of cocaine

A drugs fugitive who was in hiding in Ghana has been jailed for 13 years following his extradition to the UK.

David McDermott, 43, originally from Ormskirk, was the last man wanted in connection with a plot to import 400kg of cocaine from South America.

The father-of-six was arrested in March the Ghanaian capital Accra where he, his wife and two children lived.

It followed an involving National Crime Agency officers and the Ghanaian Bureau of National Investigation.

Secret tracking

McDermott was a member of a Liverpool-based gang involved in a conspiracy to import and supply cocaine seized from a container of frozen Argentinian beef at Tilbury docks in Essex in May 2013, the court heard.

The consignment was only detected by chance following an E.coli scare which enabled the authorities to replace blocks of the Class A drug in 16 holdalls with house bricks.

Its onward delivery was then secretly tracked to Wigan.

The cocaine had a potential street value of about £70m, the court heard.

The 43-year-old pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to conspiracy to import cocaine between January and May 2013.

McDermott split his time between the UK and Ghana during the plot and was set to take a 50kg load of the smuggled cocaine, the court heard.

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