Seventh arrest over drugs haul as Irish couple stay in custody
on 03/09/2012 00:00:00
The Spanish authorities are questioning all the suspects before the case is considered by an examining magistrate. They can be detained for up to three months without charge.
Irish couple Alan Buckley, 57, and his partner Lorna Bowes-Busteed, 48, both from Cork, were among six people initially arrested after the Spanish navy boarded the 38ft Irish-registered Colin Hannah yacht off Cadiz.
The armed officers discovered up to 500kg of cannabis resin worth at least €3m on board.
It is believed the yacht, which sailed from Crosshaven just under two years ago, picked up drugs recently in Morocco and was destined for either Britain or Ireland. Two British crewmen were arrested on board.
The Irish couple, well known on Cork's social scene, have been living in the Marbella area of southern Spain for about two years, but made several trips back to Cork. They had been spotted drinking and socialising in pubs in Kinsale and Crosshaven.
The interception of the vessel was the culmination of a major international intelligence-led drug trafficking investigation into the importation and distribution of drugs by sea.
Codenamed Operation Ciana/Fortuna, it targeted a Cork-based organised crime gang.
Revenue, the Garda National Drugs Unit, the Spanish police, and the Serious Organised Crime Agency in Britain have been monitoring Mr Buckley's activities and communications.
Originally from Grange on the city's southside, he lived for several years in Kinsale, where he ran an antiques business, before moving to live in Spain.
Well known to gardaí and customs in Ireland, he was targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau in the 1990s and reached a settlement believed to be in the region of €400,000.
Ms Bowes-Busteed is the widow of the late Dick Busteed, whose family ran Rosie's bar in Carrigaline for more than 160 years.