Man jailed after massive cocaine haul off Cork coast
on 24/09/2012 16:32:44
John Alan Brooks was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court after a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to import the drug.
He was arrested after a boat called Dances With Waves carrying the drugs haul was intercepted by Irish authorities 170 miles (274km) off the south west coast of Ireland.
Brooks is originally from Blackpool but had been living in Marbella, Spain, before his arrest last November.
A spokesman for the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) described him as a "career criminal" and an "international fixer".
His boat had collected the cocaine in Venezuelan waters and was heading for Liverpool, Soca said.
Gardaí from Bantry were part of an international investigation into who was behind the smuggling attempt, eventually leading to John Brook.
Officers from Cork, including assistant commissioner Tony Quilter, gave evidence during John Brook's trial in Birmingham.
Matt Horne, Soca regional head of investigations, said: "Working with international partners to stop consignments of drugs before they can even reach our shores is a priority for Soca, and is just one of the ways we undermine the cocaine trade and put the UK illegal drugs market under stress.
"Brooks was the go-to man for organised crime groups as he was an expert in arranging the transportation of huge quantities of drugs. His criminal career stretches back nearly 30 years, during which time he has travelled extensively using false identities and has been imprisoned on a number of occasions.
"We also discovered he had escaped from a Moroccan prison in 2000 but once he was in our sights there was only ever going to be one place he would end up. Now he's back in prison where he belongs and we're going after his money.
"Not only have we kept a huge amount of cocaine out of the UK, we can be confident that a number of crime groups have also been denied profits which would otherwise have been reinvested in further criminal activity."