Ilkley man held over cocaine bust off Irish coast

�62.5 million worth of cocaine was taken from onboard the yacht Makayabella in Haulbowline naval base, Cobh, Co Cork after the Irish Navy intercepted the vessel
�62.5 million worth of cocaine was taken from onboard the yacht Makayabella in Haulbowline naval base, Cobh, Co Cork after the Irish Navy intercepted the vessel
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A FIFTH person has been charged in West Yorkshire over an international cocaine bust off the coast of Ireland last year.

James Andrew Hill, 30, was arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) at his home in Hampshire Close, Ilkley, on Tuesday over the Makayabella sting.

�62.5 million worth of cocaine was taken from onboard the yacht Makayabella in Haulbowline naval base, Cobh, Co Cork after the Irish Navy intercepted the vessel

�62.5 million worth of cocaine was taken from onboard the yacht Makayabella in Haulbowline naval base, Cobh, Co Cork after the Irish Navy intercepted the vessel

The luxury yacht was intercepted after crossing the Atlantic from Caribbean waters with about a tonne of cocaine on board worth about £160m.

Hill was charged with conspiring to import Class A drugs and was remanded in custody following an appearance at Wakefield Magistrates Court, the NCA said.

He is due before Leeds Crown Court on July 15.

The Makayabella was intercepted in poor condition by Irish authorities 200 miles off the south-west coast of Ireland in September last year.

�62.5 million worth of cocaine was taken from onboard the yacht Makayabella in Haulbowline naval base, Cobh, Co Cork after the Irish Navy intercepted the vessel

�62.5 million worth of cocaine was taken from onboard the yacht Makayabella in Haulbowline naval base, Cobh, Co Cork after the Irish Navy intercepted the vessel

Earlier this year, three men, including a West Yorkshire pensioner who skippered the yacht across the Atlantic, were sentenced to up to ten years in prison for their roles in the operation.

John Powell, 70, of Silsden, near Keighley, was handed ten years in jail for skippering the 62-foot yacht Makayabella, which was intercepted off the Irish coast last September laden down with 41 bales of the narcotics onboard.

Benjamin Mellor, 35, of Bradford, and Thomas Britteon, 28, of Grimsby, were both sentenced to eight years each for their roles as “hired help” in the venture.

The trio pleaded guilty to two charges each of drug trafficking and importation.

Their sentencing hearing in Cork Circuit Court depicted an error-strewn voyage from Venezuela towards the UK, which attracted the attention of the US, France, UK and Ireland.