Europe

Yacht drugs fixer John Alan Brooks jailed for 28 years

John Alan Brooks
Image caption John Alan Brooks was an international fixer for organised crime gangs

A career criminal has been jailed for 28 years for his role in a 170m euro cocaine shipment that was seized off the coast of County Cork in 2008.

John Alan Brooks, 61, bought the yacht and hired the crew to smuggle the 1.5 tonnes of cocaine into the UK.

It was the second biggest drugs seizure ever made by drugs enforcement authorities in the Irish Republic.

Brooks, from Blackpool, was described as an international fixer for organised crime groups across the world.

He masterminded a plot to smuggle the cocaine from Venezuela to the UK.

Tracked

He paid 160,000 US dollars cash for the Dances with Waves yacht, which was used to transport the drugs from the Caribbean. He also hired the three crew who sailed the yacht across the Atlantic.

Brooks has had a criminal career lasting for more than three decades.

On Monday he was jailed for 28 years after a jury at the Crown Court in Birmingham found him guilty on a ten to two majority.

Unknown to Brooks and the crew of Dances with Waves, the yacht was being tracked by satellite as it made its way from Trinidad to the south coast of Ireland on its way to the Welsh coast in November, 2008.

Image caption Irish police and customs officers show the cocaine recovered from the yacht Dances with Waves

The yacht ran into difficulty and was in danger of sinking 150 miles south of Cork when it was boarded and detained as part of an operation involving Irish police, navy and customs.

The UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency, which had identified the suspect yacht, had set-up a joint investigation with Irish police to identify those behind the Dances with Waves shipment.

They arrested Brooks in Blackpool in November 2011 when he travelled there from his home in Spain to visit family.

Crew members Philip Doo and David Mufford, from Devon, and Christopher Wiggins, who had been living in the Costa del Sol, were arrested at the time of the seizure.

They pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply, and were each jailed for ten years at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in May 2009.