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Dutch cocaine smuggler faces 16 years in English jail

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A 61-year-old Dutchman has been sentenced to 16 years in jail at Bristol Crown Court for smuggling cocaine with a street value of €155m to Britain on a yacht.

Originally both crew members, Maarten Pieterse and Emile Schoemaker, were arrested but Schoemaker was later released without charge.

The boat was intercepted nearly 200 kilometres off the coast of Cornwall in July of last year in an operation involving British, Portuguese, French, Spanish and Dutch officials.

The cocaine was hidden in bales wrapped in plastic in a compartment at the rear of the boat, officials said. Some two tonnes of cocaine were recovered which took two days to remove.

National Crime Agency regional head Andy Quinn said at the time the find was one of the largest hauls of class A drugs ever made in the UK and almost certainly destined for the European and UK markets.

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