Two British men were sent to jail for attempting to Jet Ski from the Netherlands to the UK with $278,000 worth of cocaine — before running out of fuel and having to be rescued at sea.
Steven Brogan, 36, and Anthony Reilly, 34, were each sentenced to about seven years behind bars on Tuesday, after pleading guilty to importing cocaine in the September caper, Suffolk Police said.
The smugglers were arrested on Sept. 30, about 27 nautical miles off the Suffolk coast, after approaching a survey boat and “reporting difficulties due to a fuel shortage,” cops said.
“At one point they were pitched into the sea,” prosecutor Hugo Vass told the court, adding that one of the men was showing signs of hypothermia and the other of exhaustion, the BBC reported.
The survey vessel put out a mayday call and a Coast Guard helicopter reported to the scene and hauled the pair to safety, police said.
But the chopper’s crew alerted authorities that the men were acting suspicious on board, Vass said.
Brogan claimed that he had been “fishing… but ran into difficulty” — before investigators discovered 4.4 pounds of coke stuffed in a backpack the pair had on them.
Officers also found a van owned by Brogan with maps of the North Sea, a pick-up point in the Netherlands, tide timetables, a cellphone and diving equipment, according to the BBC.
Brogan’s defense attorney, Mark Stevens, said his client was a successful boxer who had “lost out on a fight” and “had no money coming in” when he “foolishly agreed” to smuggle drugs, the report said.
On Tuesday, a judge in Ipswich Crown Court ordered Brogan jailed for seven years and six months and Reilly, who admitted to the charges before his co-defendant, jailed for seven years.
“This incident shows the incredibly dangerous lengths that those involved in the supply of drugs will go to in order to sustain their trade,” 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.”