Two British men who tried to ride a Jet Ski from the Netherlands to the UK with $278,000 worth of cocaine stuffed in a backpack got swamped with prison time Tuesday.
Steven Brogan, 36, and Anthony Reilly, 34, appeared in Ipswich Crown Court for their sentencings after their cocaine caper on the North Sea floundered last September and they both pleaded guilty to importing the drugs.
Brogan was sentenced to seven years and six months while Reilly was given a slightly shorter sentence of seven years, Suffolk police said. Steven Brogan and Anthony Reilly got into troubled waters.
The men were apprehended Sept. 30 about 27 nautical miles off the Suffolk coast after they approached a survey vessel “reporting difficulties due to a fuel shortage,” police said.
“At one point they were pitched into the sea,” prosecutor Hugh Vass told the court, adding one man was showing signs of hypothermia and the other of exhaustion. The jet ski used by two men to smuggle cocaine.
The survey vessel issued a mayday call and a coastguard helicopter and volunteers from Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat Patsy Knight responded to the scene, police said. The men were arrested after the helicopter crew alerted police to suspicious behavior on board, Vass reportedly said, Brogan allegedly claimed he had been “fishing… but ran into difficulty.” Investigators later found the backpack full of cocaine and a van owned by Brogan containing maps of the North Sea, a pick-up point in the Netherlands, tide timetables, a mobile phone and diving equipment.
Brogan’s defense lawyer Mark Stevens reportedly said his client was a successful boxer who “lost out on a fight” and had no money coming in when he “foolishly agreed” to smuggle drugs. “These men acted recklessly and put their lives at risk by crossing the channel to Holland on a jet ski to import class A drugs into Suffolk,” Suffolk Police Detective Inspector Matt Adams said in a statement, “We hope that this sentence will act as a deterrent to criminals trying to bring drugs into our county,” he said.