Cocaine Smuggler’s Wife Says the Money Came from Poker Winnings

TAGs: Dawne Powell, Leeds Crown Court

The wife of a convicted cocaine smuggler is trying to avoid jail time, for her part in the affair, by insisting that the money used to buy the yacht transporting the drugs came from her husband’s poker winnings.

The wife of a jailed drug smuggler has told a UK court how she believed his money came from selling cars and playing poker.

Cocaine Smuggler’s Wife Says the Money Came from Poker WinningsDawne Powell is on trial at Leeds Crown Court where she is desperately trying to clear her name of the charge of conspiracy to import cocaine. Her husband, Stephen Powell, his father John Powell, and four other associates, have already pleaded guilty to the same charges.

This whole sorry mess came to light after a yacht used to transport cocaine from Venezuela to the UK ran out of fuel 200-miles off the south west coast of Ireland. A joint task force comprising of the Irish Naval Service and National Crime Agency boarded the yacht, named Makayabella, and found 1,025 1kg blocks of cocaine with a street value of £160 million.

Powell later walked into a police station to own up to his part in the smuggling ring.

“I believe you have got something of mine.” Powell told the police officer on duty at the time, “£63 million worth of cocaine. I bet you weren’t expecting that, were you?”

I doubt he was also expecting to hear that despite the wealth of the cargo that they actually ran out of fuel!

Powell pleaded guilty in Cork District Court in Ireland and was sentenced to 16-years behind bars. His wife is trying her best to avoid that fate. Powell’s wife Dawne is facing the same charges because her bank account was used to pay for the two yachts cited in the operation.

The Makayabella, bought in the Caribbean for £100,000, was purchased in Stephen Powell’s name, but paid for in four installments taken from a bank account in Dawne’s sole name. She also paid for flights to St Lucia for her husband and his father, insurance for the Makayabella, a satellite phone used for comms, and a second yacht, named Sea Breeze, used as a secondary vehicle to transport the cocaine from the Makayabella to the UK coast.

Powell’s defense – a rather shaky one – is that she was completely unaware of any cocaine smuggling ring, and believed the money came from selling cars and playing poker, which her partner did five nights a week. She has not worked for 10-years.

“He said it was poker money. I had no reason to doubt him.” She told the court.

Yes…we have all used that one before Dawne.


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