Moment border guards intercept UK-bound yacht, find £112m of cocaine

Moment border guards intercept UK-bound catamaran and uncover more than a TON of cocaine – worth £112million – onboard in one of the biggest drugs busts in British history

  • Nigel Clark, 64, and Dean Waters, 59, were found guilty alongside three others   
  • Raymond Dijkstra, Richard Must and Voldermars Gailis were also found guilty
  • The five were caught trying to smuggle £112 million of cocaine into the country 
  • Their catamaran was intercepted last August while heading towards the UK 
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Five men have been convicted of trying to import 1.4 tonnes of cocaine worth £112 million into the UK, in a 60ft sailing yacht in one of the biggest drug busts in British history.

Nigel Clark, 64, Dean Waters, 59, both from Britain, and Dutch national Raymond Dijkstra, 27, were today found guilty following a five-week trial at Bristol Crown Court. 

Estonian Richard Must, 49, and Latvian Voldermars Gailis, 21, pleaded guilty to all charges at an earlier hearing.   

Their yacht, the SY Nomad, was intercepted on August 29 last year while heading towards the UK, after leaving Suriname, just south of Venezuela.

Police found more than 1,400 kilo blocks of cocaine hidden inside locked storage containers on the yacht that was headed to the UK

The Border Force intercepted the catamaran in August last year as it headed towards the UK

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It was then escorted to Newlyn Harbour in Cornwall and the three men on board – Must, Gailis and Dijkstra – were arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking offences.

Officers recovered more than 1,400 kilo blocks of cocaine hidden inside locked storage containers on the yacht – with a street value of £112 million.

The estimated wholesale of this amount of cocaine is £44,896,000. 

Nigel Clark and Dean Waters were arrested later that day after being observed by police for two days. 

Nigel Clark, 64, Dean Waters, 59, both from Britain, were found guilty of drug trafficking offences after being monitored by officers for several days

Estonian Richard Must, 49, had earlier pleaded guilty

Waters had purchased a smaller boat from Spain which he towed towards Cornwall the day before his arrest to meet up with Clark.

Officers believe they planned to use it to transfer drugs from the yacht to the UK. 

Following their arrests, searches of cars they owned led to the discovery of encrypted mobile phones, a thermal camera and GPS device, a significant quantity of cash and a registration document for the SY Nomad in Clark’s name. 

Latvian Voldermars Gailis, 21, also pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing

All five men were charged with conspiring to import cocaine and conspiring to conceal cocaine within a ship and remanded in custody.

Ty Surgeon, National Crime Agency investigating officer, said: ‘The main instigators Clark and Waters – both of whom have previous convictions for drug trafficking offences – knew exactly what they were doing and had planned every part of the drug smuggling attempt.

‘This case should act as a deterrence to anyone who thinks they can import or smuggle drugs into the UK.’

Matt Horne, NCA Deputy Director, said: ‘This intelligence-led investigation resulted in the seizure of a significant quantity of cocaine that would have made its way to towns and cities across the UK.

‘This was a highly profitable commodity with an estimated street value of £112million.

‘Making a profit is the motive for organised criminals and this interdiction would have really hit them in the pocket – disrupting their activities and damaging their reputation at the same time. 

‘We know there are links between drug supply and violent crime and this seizure, along with the two tonnes recovered in similar circumstances at the same harbour in July last year, demonstrate the NCA’s role in helping to prevent that’. 

Clark and Waters pictured walking towards the inflatable boat the prosecution said was going to be used to bring the drugs ashore

They were described by the National Crime Agency as being the main instigators of the drug smuggling operation

The confiscated cocaine found on the yacht has a street value of £112 million, according to the NCA

Gordon Scarratt, head of Border Force Maritime said: ‘The Border Force cutter’s interception of the yacht was a crucial intervention in this successful operation, leading to the search of the vessel, the discovery of a vast quantity of dangerous drugs and ultimately the men’s arrests. 

‘Our maritime crews play a key role in patrolling the UK’s coastline and intelligence sharing between law enforcement agencies ensures this is done to maximum effect.’ 

The men have been remanded in custody until sentencing which will be on Tuesday 26 March at Bristol Crown Court. 

The yacht, the SY Nomad, was intercepted just after leaving Suriname, just south of Venezuela

All five men were charged with conspiring to import cocaine and conspiring to conceal cocaine within a ship

The huge quantity of cocaine was found hidden inside locked storage containers on the yacht

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