A drugs smuggler ordered to hand over £3.6m of his ill-gotten gains after a huge cocaine plot has launched an appeal against his court bill.
Ex-pat John Alan Brooks, 64, originally from Blackpool, was jailed for 28 years in 2012 over a plot to sneak £150m of cocaine into the UK.
Brooks arranged for the transport of a 1.5-ton consignment of the drug, which was seized in a yacht off the coast of Ireland in late 2008.
Following his conviction, he was ordered to hand over £3.6m after a confiscation hearing at Birmingham Crown Court.
However, his lawyers now argue that he cannot be expected to stump up so much, as his wealth had been wrongly assessed by the court.
Barrister Mark Trafford QC said the confiscation judge was wrong to find that Brooks had £3.6m of ‘realisable assets’.
But lawyers for the prosecution say Brooks had lived a ‘lavish cash lifestyle’ in southern Spain at the time.
And when he was arrested for his part in the plot, he was staying in a ‘luxury hotel’.
Brooks, who prosecutors alleged was the ‘go-to-guy’ for criminals moving drugs, appeared in London’s Court of Appeal yesterday via a video link.
Sat behind a desk with his papers in front of him, he wore a pink shirt and dark tie.
At his original trial in 2012, the court heard he had arranged for the purchase of a boat, Dances With Waves, and set up a crew to sail from Trinidad to Venezuela.
There, it was loaded with high-purity drugs, which were carried across the Atlantic, but fell into police arms when the boat got into difficulties off the coast of Ireland.
Brooks was linked to the smuggling plot by documents and phone records.
He was found guilty of conspiracy to import Class A drugs at Birmingham Crown Court in 2012.
A one-time car dealer, Brooks had lived and worked on the Fylde coast – with addresses on St Annes Road, South Shore, and Garstang Road East, Poulton – before fleeing to live the high-life in Spain in the 1980s.
Appeal judges Lord Justice Treacy, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave and Mr Justice Garnham today reserved their judgment on his confiscation appeal until a later date