THE career criminal behind a €400m cocaine smuggling operation foiled off the south coast has been jailed for 28 years.
John Alan Brooks (61) was described in court as the mastermind behind the massive cocaine shipment seized off the coast of Cork in November 2008. It was the second biggest drugs seizure ever made by drugs enforcement authorities here.
Brooks bought the 'Dances with Waves' yacht and hired the crew to transport the 1.5 tonnes of cocaine from Venezuela with the aim of smuggling the drugs into the UK.
However, the shipment was intercepted 200km off the Cork coast following an international police operation led by the gardai, Naval Service and Customs & Excise.
Brooks was jailed for 28 years at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday.
British officials singled out the Irish authorities for the crucial role they played in smashing one of the biggest cocaine smuggling plots ever mounted.
In May 2009, the three Britons arrested on board the 'Dances With Waves' were each jailed for 10 years by Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The court heard Philip Doo (55), David Mufford (48) and Christopher Wiggins (45) had all become involved in the drugs enterprise because of extreme financial hardship.
The drugs were destined for Holyhead in Wales -- with Doo, the skipper, promised stg£500,000 (€627,000) by the Anglo-Spanish crime gang for bringing the shipment across the Atlantic to the UK.
Wiggins and Mufford were to receive £150,000 (€188,000) each -- less than 0.4pc of the consignment value.
All three men have addresses in Britain and Spain: Philip Doo, of Rocklands House, Higher Manor Road, Brixham, Devon, UK; Christopher Wiggins, of Mirador de Costalita, Estepona, Malaga, Spain; and David Mufford, of Clennon Court, Clennon Lane, Torquay, Devon, UK.
The drugs -- which were up to 74pc pure -- had been sourced via Venezuela and were earmarked for the UK cocaine market.
Brooks (61) was finally arrested last November, and was yesterday convicted on a 10-2 majority verdict of conspiracy to import drugs into the UK.
The British Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) described Brooks as "a career criminal" and an "international fixer" within the European drugs industry.
SOCA said Brooks's criminal record dates back over 30 years, and he once escaped from a Moroccan prison before fleeing to Spain on a jet-ski.
When detained last November, Brooks was found to have multiple false travel documents -- including a fake Irish passport.