Thursday 22 February 2018

Drug-bust boats up for auction

Don Lavery

BOATS and vehicles used by a bungling drug gang to try to smuggle a huge haul of cocaine worth €440m into west Cork three years ago are to be sold off by the Criminal Assets Bureau later this month.

Cork-based auctioneer Dominic J Daly yesterday reported a "lot of interest" in the auction, particularly in a catamaran, which was used by the drug gang and which is now in La Coruna, Spain.

"A number of people have gone down to La Coruna to see the Lucky Day," said Mr Daly.

The catamaran, built in 1997, was described as being "in flawless condition" and "perfectly maintained" when it was sold before the drugs bust by her then Austrian owners. who had no connection with the smuggling.

The boat was seized at sea by Spanish police and escorted to the port of La Coruna, where it was put under armed guard. At the time the boat was flying a US flag and had recently been marked as sold on the internet.

Two men were arrested when the boat was seized.

It has two forward staterooms, one in each hull with queen beds in both; two large toilets aft, one in each hull; and eight possible berths.

The Cork drugs bust, on July 2, 2007, was one of Ireland's largest.

Diesel had mistakenly been put in a petrol engine of one of two inflatables, which ended up in Dunlough Bay in a heavy swell, with three men thrown into the water. One of the three men made it to shore and raised the alarm.

When lifeboats, coastguards, gardai and the Naval Service arrived they were stunned to see huge bales of cocaine floating in the bay, with one of the inflatables semi-submerged.

Four men were later jailed in Cork for up to 30 years for their part in smuggling the 1.5 tonnes of cocaine into the country.

A number of men are also before the courts in Britain.

The noon auction takes place at O'Donovan House, Courtstown Industrial Estate, Little Island, Co Cork, on March 23, and also includes the two RIBS used by the drugs gang, outboard engines, trailers, and three Land Rover 4x4s.

Sunday Independent

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