Drug-smuggler had cocaine worth €155m aboard yacht

A 61-YEAR-OLD Dutch drug-smuggler, who tried to import cocaine valued at €155m into Europe aboard his yacht, has been jailed for 16 years.

Maarten Pieterse, by trade a jewellery entrepreneur, was found guilty, with more than two tonnes of the Class A drug on his boat, SY Marcia, last year in the English Channel.

Border Force officers from HMC Vigilant seized the Belgium-bound craft on 18th July 2018 and took it to the Cornish port of Newlyn.

Searches revealed a hidden compartment at the back of the yacht, crewed only by Pieterse and a co-defendant, who was found not guilty of the conspiracy.

The haul, containing 1,671 blocks of cocaine, worth more than €155m at street value, took Border Force and National Crime Agency officers well into the next day to document.

Anne McCracken of the CPS Organised Crime Division, said: “This was drug-smuggling on a truly staggering scale. The two tonnes of cocaine concealed aboard the yacht were tested at between 74-83% cent purity, which would have made it some of the strongest available, had it reached the market.

“Cocaine is a major source of revenue for ruthless, organised crime groups, and it causes misery to people throughout the world.”

She added: “Maarten Pieterse exploited this deadly trade for personal gain, using the Azores as an ideal staging post for the lucrative smuggling route, between South America and Europe.”

The Rotterdam-registered Marcia, purchased by Pieterse for €40,000 in 2012, had been converted to hold extra diesel, so that it could travel longer distances.

The Crown’s case was that Pieterse took a 1,300-nautical-mile deviation into the mid-Atlantic for the purposes of “coopering”: meeting fellow smugglers at sea to transfer illegal cargo between boats.

Data from a satellite communication device found aboard the yacht revealed a 22-day gap between it leaving Gran Canaria and arriving in the Azores on 5th July 2018, which was significantly longer a journey than necessary.

The prosecution also presented messages, sent via satellite to a Dutch mobile phone, which referred to a “huge birthday cake with lots of candles” for the 93rd birthday reunion of an “Auntie Ann” at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport.

There was no such party: this was a code for criminal transactions!


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Posted by on Dec 5 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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