Friday 15 November 2019

Man held in €4m drug haul on yacht linked to earlier seizure

Half a tonne of cannabis was found on a yacht off Spain
Half a tonne of cannabis was found on a yacht off Spain

Tom Brady and Ralph Riegel

THE Irish businessman arrested last week in connection with a big cannabis resin haul off the Spanish coast has been linked with another multi-million euro shipment seized last December.

Police have established that last week's haul, found on board the Irish-registered yacht the Colin Hannah, comprised 700kg of cannabis with a street value of €4.2m.

Seven suspects, including the 57-year-old Cork man and his 48-year-old partner, are being held for questioning in Malaga.

At least some of them are due to appear in court shortly.

The five others arrested include an Englishman, who is regarded by police as a major drug trafficking figure, three other Britons and a German national.

The yacht was intercepted following a long-running operation, codenamed "Ciana/Fortuna", involving the Garda national drugs unit, the Revenue Service and the Spanish national police.

As a result of the operation, officers have established a direct link between the latest seizure and a find in Spain shortly before Christmas in which a total of 1.2 tonnes of cannabis resin were recovered.

This shipment had a total street value of €7.2m, bringing the overall value of drugs recovered to €11.4m.

The Colin Hannah left a Moroccan port early last week and its movements were monitored until it entered Spanish territorial waters on Thursday when it was intercepted by the Spanish Navy.

Police believe the Irishman was planning to send out a number of boats from a southern harbour to meet the yacht as it approached Ireland to divide up the massive shipment.

The man has been a target of the gardai and the Criminal Assets Bureau since the 1990s and CAB seized a house belonged to him in Cork toward the end of that decade.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News