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Fourth man appears in court over €80m cocaine yacht seizure


The yacht Makayabella off the coast of Cork.

The yacht Makayabella off the coast of Cork.

The yacht Makayabella off the coast of Cork.

A fourth man has appeared in court in connection with the €80m seizure of cocaine on the yacht Makayabella earlier this week.

Stephen Powell (47) was arrested following the seizure of around a tonne of cocaine on board the yacht Makayabella earlier this week, in an international operation involving the Irish Naval Service and the NCA.

He was remanded in custody when he appeared at Leeds Magistrates' Court today charged with conspiracy to import cocaine, an NCA spokesman said.

Three men detained on board the yacht were also charged by the Garda Siochana in Cork with possessing cocaine with intent to import.

Powell's father John Powell, 70, of Silsden, West Yorkshire, appeared in a special sitting of Cork District Court last night, along with Benjamin Mellor, 35, of Bradford and Thomas Britteon, 28, of Grimsby.

They were remanded in custody and will appear by video link at the same court next Thursday.

Meanwhile, Stephen Powell, of Guiseley, Leeds, will next appear at Leeds Crown Court on October 13.

A 43-year-old man has been released on bail in West Yorkshire, while investigators have urged a sixth suspect, a 29-year-old man from the Halton Moor area of Leeds, to give himself up.

The luxury yacht was found on Tuesday in poor condition in the Atlantic Ocean, 200 miles off the south west coast of Ireland, while investigators yesterday seized a 25ft motor boat called Sea Breeze, moored in Pwllheli, north Wales.

PA Media