You are here
Drug kingpin bought boats in Chaguaramas
A career criminal who bought two boats in T&T to facilitate his criminal enterprise has been jailed for 28 years after being found guilty of masterminding a plot to smuggle 1.5 tonnes of cocaine—worth over TT$1 billion—into the UK. John Alan Brooks, aged 61, who is originally from Blackpool but had been living in Marbella, Spain, assembled a crew to import the cocaine on board the boat, Dances with Waves, which he bought at a dockyard in Chaguaramas.
A multi-agency operation, led by SOCA (the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency) resulted in the interception of the boat by Irish authorities 170 miles off the southwest coast of Ireland in November 2008. It had set sail from Trinidad and stopped off in Venezuelan waters to pick up the cocaine before heading for Liverpool.
As part of the investigation, SOCA officers also were able to prove that before Brooks travelled to Trinidad to oversee the purchase of Dances with Waves in 2008, using a false identity, he had bought the Passion Storm from the same boatyard in Chaguaramas in 2006. Its name was changed to Dragon and it was stopped by the Spanish authorities in 2007. Officers found 3,400 kilos of hashish on board and the four crew members were arrested.
In 2007 Brooks went to the boatyard again to pay a deposit for the Picaro and also paid a deposit to a company in the UK for a rigid-hulled inflatable boat. Both deals fell through as he was arrested at Heathrow Airport for travelling on a false passport. He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
A release from SOCA said Brooks, who was arrested in November 2011 while visiting family in Blackpool, was sentenced on September 24 at Birmingham Crown Court after being found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine. Crew members—Philip Doo and David Mufford, from Devon, and Christopher Wiggins—who had been living on the Costa del Sol, Spain, were arrested at the time of the seizure.
They pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply and were each jailed for ten years at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in May 2009. SOCA regional head of investigations, Matt Horne, 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 several occasions.”
Horne added: “We also discovered he had escaped from a Moroccan prison in 2000 but once he was in our sights there was only one place he would end up. Now he’s back in prison where he belongs and we are 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.”
The Maritime Analysis Operations Centre for Narcotics in Lisbon played a vital co-ordinating role in the interception of Dances with Waves. SOCA shared intelligence with officers at the centre, who were able to direct Ireland’s Joint Task Force (Garda, Customs and Navy) onboard the naval vessel Le Niamh, to the boat’s location, as it was in danger of sinking. The cocaine was estimated to be worth over £134 million (approximately TT$1.34 billion).
After completing his latest jail term in the UK, Brooks faces extradition to France to serve the 13-year sentence he was given in his absence after a 4.2-tonne cannabis seizure in 1989.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.