A BLACKPOOL man has been arrested for allegedly being part of a £250m international cocaine smuggling racket.
Police, acting under orders from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) – dubbed Britain’s FBI –swooped in the town to capture John Alan Brooks.
The 60-year-old, who is originally from Blackpool, but has been living in the Marbella area of Spain, was found at an address in Marton.
His arrest comes as part of a major investigation which was launched in 2008 when a 1.5 tonnes shipment of cocaine was seized off the coast of Ireland.
The luxury yacht Dances With Waves was carrying drugs with an estimated value of 300m euros or £250m.
Naval officers boarded her after she got into trouble 170 miles off the south west coast of Ireland.
Brooks is known to have had addresses previously in both the Commonedge Road area of Blackpool and in Lytham and St Annes.
It is believed he was visiting family members in Blackpool when police moved in.
A spokesman for SOCA confirmed: “A man allegedly linked to a plot to smuggle 1.5 tonnes of cocaine into the UK on board the boat Dances with Waves was arrested as part of a Serious Organised Crime Agency investigation.
“John Alan Brooks has been charged with conspiracy to import cocaine.
“He is originally from Blackpool, but has been living in the Benahavis area of Spain,
“He appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Monday. He has been remanded in custody and is due to appear at Birmingham Crown Court this coming Monday.”
The drugs seizure was reportedly the largest in Irish history when it was made in November 2008.
Dances With Waves – a 60ft ocean-going yacht – had set sail from Trinidad and was heading for the UK when it got into difficulties in stormy weather.
It was reported 70 bales of cocaine were on the verge of capsizing when Naval officers moved in.
Authorities were forced to board the ship in “horrendous weather conditions” to prevent evidence being lost in the seven-metre swells.
Experts said although the yacht could travel at high speeds, it was not designed for rough weather.
Under armed guard, the crippled yacht was sailed to Castletownbere, west Cork, where plastic-wrapped bales which filled the hull were unloaded and stacked on the quayside.
n Philip Doo, 52, from Brixham, David Mufford, 44, of Torquay, and Christopher Wiggins, 42, with an address in Spain’s Costa del Sol were arrested on the yacht.
They later pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply.
All received 10-year sentences at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in May 2009