Four jailed over £163million cocaine haul off Irish coast

Four jailed over £163million cocaine haul off Irish coast

FOUR people involved in an international drug trafficking plot off the Irish coast worth over £163million have been jailed for a total of 31 years.

Dawn Powell, 56, James Hill, 31, David Webster, 44 and Philip McElhone, 29, were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on Friday, September 18.

Last September a tonne of cocaine was seized by the Irish navy from the Makayabella yacht off the Cork coast.

Authorities found 1kg blocks of the class A drug contained in 41 packages, with a street value of around £163million.

The four individuals are the final members of a criminal gang to be jailed for 73 years in total for their participation in the trafficking plot.

Hill, from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, was found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine and jailed for six years.

Powell, from Guiseley, West Yorkshire, was convicted of money laundering and was handed a three-year prison sentence, but was cleared of a charge of conspiracy to import cocaine.

Webster, from Otley, West Yorkshire, and McElhone, from Halton Moor, Leeds, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine at an earlier hearing and were jailed for 11 years each.

Sentencing Hill, Judge James Spencer QC said: "This was a serious conspiracy. It involved a colossal amount of cash, or the prospect of it, because the street value of the quantity of cocaine which was planned to be imported was over £160 million. And the quantities of illegal profit therefore were mind-boggling."