Five men have been found guilty for their roles in an audacious attempt to smuggle 1.4 tonnes of cocaine, worth £112,000,000, into the UK in August 2018.
The jury at Bristol Crown Court heard how skipper Richard Must, 49, from Estonia, and crew members Voldemars Gailis, 21, from Latvia and Raymond Dijkstra, 27, from the Netherlands, had been detained on board a catamaran called ‘Nomad’ that was intercepted by Border Force and NCA officers on 29th August 2018. On board were discovered 1,401 packets of high purity cocaine, each weighing a kilo.
The two other Defendants, Nigel Clark, 64, and Dean Waters, 60, had been engaged in preparations on the Cornish coast to take a smaller, faster boat to rendezvous with the Nomad as it approached the English coast. The jury heard how those preparations had included purchasing a night-vision camera, a navigation device, and trolleys on which to move the drugs.
NCA Senior Investigating Officer Ty Surgeon said:
“This is another fantastic example of law enforcement and partner agencies working together, sharing intelligence and conducting operational activity to stop the importation of a huge amount of cocaine into the UK.
This case should act as a deterrence to anyone who thinks they can import or smuggle drugs into the UK.”
All five received significant jail sentences following sentencing on 26 March 2019. Judge Martin Picton said the men were guilty of “international drugs smuggling of the highest order”. He sentenced the gang members as follows:
They must all serve at least half of their sentences before being eligible to be considered for release on licence.