Email claims an attached photograph of a very fast boat with eight outboard motors was used for regular drug smuggling operations across the English Channel.
Boats like the one in the photograph are real and have been used by drug smugglers. However, the details about the particular drug smuggling operation described may be inaccurate.
Subject: OH NO SIR! OFFICER! WE’VE ONLY BEEN FISHING!…………
oh, no sir, officer !, we’ve only been fishing, believe me . . .
2,000 HP Outboard Inflatable …
Here’s the latest drug runner toy from Europe …
This thing belts across the English channel 3 times per week and was just a blur on the radar screen of the British Coast Guard.
They were so astonished by the speed of the unknown craft, that they brought in a special high speed helicopter to chase it.
300kgs of pure cocaine were found on board. Of course, you’d have to be on drugs to put the throttle down on this thing!
Here’s the latest drug runner from some european nuts.
This thing belts across the english channel 3 times per week and was just a blur on the radar of the British coast guard.
They were so blown away by the speed of the thing that they bought in a specialised chopper and had to attempt to LAND the chopper on the boat at high speed to get them to stop….
What was on board…… 300kgs of pure cocaine!
This email forward includes a photograph of a large rigid inflatable boat (RIB) that is powered by eight 250 hp outboard motors. The message claims that the vessel was used to smuggle drugs across the English Channel three times per week until it was captured by a British coast guard helicopter with 300kg of cocaine on board. Versions of the message have been circulating since 2007.
Powerful RIB’s like the one pictured are real. UK company Crompton Marine previously manufactured RIBs in a variety of sizes and engine configurations including a 20 meter model powered by eight 250 CV Yamaha outboard motors. The specifications of this model correspond with the boat shown in the photograph.
Moreover, criminal proceedings undertaken several years ago indicate that these vessels may have been designed specifically to meet the requirements of drug smugglers. The then owner of Crompton Marine, Ian Rush, was accused of supplying such boats for use in drug related crimes. Rush’s partners, Richard Davison, and Ellen George were arrested on similar charges in 2004. A January 2007 BBC news article includes the following quote from case prosecutor Simon Draycott:
“The ribs (rigid inflatable boats) were built, sold and transported to southern Spain, North Africa and Morocco.
“Mr Davison, Ms George and Mr Rush knew those buying the boats wanted them for one reason, to transport drugs and contraband from North Africa to southern Spain.
“They also knew that the money used to pay for the boat was coming from proceeds of crime.”
Another news article in the UK’s Daily Mail provides further information about the case:
Managing director Davison, 39, and his partner George, 41, were suspected of making secret cash deals on boats costing up to £350,000, each with eight 250-horsepower engines strapped to the back.
Ranging between 30ft and 60ft long and capable of producing 60 knots (about 70mph) at sea, they could out-run any pursuers. Similar sized boats normally have one or two outboard motors.
Thus, there seems little doubt that boats like the one pictured were used in illicit drug related activities. However, I could find no reports that confirm the English Channel drug smuggling incident described in the message. Reports of large drug busts are regularly featured in the news media. It is unlikely that a 300kg cocaine haul found in one of the RIB’s that are central to a widely reported court case would not have made headlines. Also, details of the court case reveal that, although the inflatable drug boats were made in the UK, they were destined for drug smuggling operations between north Africa and southern Spain.
Given the lack of any collaborating evidence, it seems reasonable to conclude that, although the boat shown in the photograph may well have been used to smuggle drugs, the description of the drug bust included in the message may be false or inaccurate.
Last updated: 10th June 2010
First published: 12th March 2007
By Brett M. Christensen