UPDATE: £160 MILLION COCAINE PLOT
A ninth person has been jailed for his part in a transatlantic plot to smuggle over £160m worth of cocaine into the UK on a yacht.
Wayne Bush, 45, from Hull was jailed for six years at Leeds Crown Court consecutive to a sentence he is currently serving at HMP Humber.
The yacht Makayabella was intercepted by the Irish Naval Services and was boarded by armed sailors from the LE Niamh about 250-miles off the southwest coast of Ireland on 23rd September 2014.
Eight people have already been jailed in connection with the drugs plot, many of them from Bradford.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said over a tonne of cocaine on the yacht would have had a potential street value above £160m had it been sold in the UK.
Bush was part of a three man “coopering crew” due to sail out and meet the Makayabella to bring back the drugs, the NCA said.
An earlier attempt to meet the boat had failed after running out of fuel. Three men on board, including ringleader Stephen Powell, were towed back to port.
Two days later Powell, with James Hill, met Bush to buy another boat at a marina in Milford Haven, south Wales but they were unsuccessful.
When Powell, Hill and Bush heard the yacht had been intercepted and the drugs seized, they dumped the car they were travelling in at Cardiff Airport.
Six drums of red diesel for the next boat trip were found in the car boot, along with a marina compliments slip with Powell’s and Bush’s fingerprints on it.
Bush, formerly of Ormonde Avenue, Hull, was arrested by the NCA for conspiring to import class A drugs in connection with the Makayabella plot in June at HMP Humber, where is serving a three-and-a-half year sentence for an unrelated offence.
David Norris, NCA regional commander, said the operation had drawn on support from law enforcement partners in France, Ireland and Venezuela.
“Wayne Bush played an important role in this conspiracy,” he said. “Bush was to have formed part of the crew who landed this huge haul of drugs in the UK after the crime group transported them across the Atlantic.”
The eight already jailed are Stephen Powell (ringleader), Dawne Powell (Stephen Powell’s wife), John Powell, Benjamin Mellor, James Hill, Philip McElhone, David Webster and Thomas Britteon.