Three appear in court over drugs haul off Irish coast
Three men have been charged with drugs trafficking following an €80m cocaine seizure by the Naval Service off the Irish coast.
John Powell (70), Benjamin Mellor (35) and Thomas Britteon (28) appeared before a special sitting of Cork District Court.
The court was told that all three defendants face a single charge on the instructions of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
They are charged with the possession of a controlled drug, namely cocaine, on board the yacht Makayabella on September 23 knowing or suspecting that it was for importation.
The court heard that Powell of Airedale Mews, Silsden, West Yorkshire, UK replied when charged: "That is all clear."
It also heard that Britteon of 120 Convamore Road, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, UK told gardai after being charged: "I am sorry for what I done."
Mellor of Manningham, Moringtom Villas, Bradford, Yorkshire, UK made no reply when charged.
The three men appeared before the court at Angelsea Street amid tight security at 8pm last night.
Evidence of arrest, caution and charge was given to Judge Olann Kelleher by Detective Garda Fergus Twomey, Detective Garda William Holmes and Detective Garda Liam Brennan.
Judge Kelleher remanded all three in continuing custody to appear again before Cork District Court next Thursday.
The judge agreed to an application from the State that the appearance should be via video-link.
Free legal aid was granted to all three men on the application of solicitors Frank Buttimer representing Powell and Mellor, and Shane Collins Daly who is representing Britteon.
All three men remained silent during the brief 10 minute hearing. They appeared in court dressed in casual clothing including tracksuits, slacks and jumpers.
In Britain a fourth man has been charged in connection with the seizure and he will appear in court in Leeds today.