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Last Updated: Monday, 13 November 2006, 18:31 GMT
Sailor held in Italy over cocaine
Henry Stableford
Henry Stableford, 31, was arrested in Italy last month
An Isle of Wight man is being held in Italy on suspicion of being involved in an alleged plot to smuggle cocaine worth 270m into Morocco.

Henry Stableford, 31, from Cowes, was detained on a Moroccan arrest warrant while working in Italy last month.

Another man, John Packwood, 43, from Cowes, was arrested in Spain in 2004 on the same warrant and spent 13 months in jail in Spain and Morocco.

In November last year, Mr Packwood was pardoned by Moroccan King Mohammed VI.

Solicitor Jason McCue, who represented Mr Packwood and is also involved in Mr Stableford's case, said: "The whole thing is so ridiculous it beggars belief - especially after the Packwood case when he was released before trial on the basis there was no case to answer.

"The problem with this extradition agreement is that as long as the forms are filled in, the Italian authorities have to send Mr Stableford to Morocco without considering the case against him."

The warrant dates back to 1997 when Mr Stableford delivered a former Royal Navy cutter to Morocco, which 10 weeks later was found to have drugs on board.

John Packwood
John Packwood was pardoned by Moroccan king Mohammed VI

The boat's four-man crew, including Mr Stableford and Mr Packwood, were interviewed by Interpol at the time, and released.

Mr Stableford is due to have a hearing within 10 days at which he could walk free if extradition papers are not presented, explained Mr McCue.

Back in Cowes, Mr Stableford's girlfriend Sara Budden, 38, said she and his family were anxiously waiting to hear from him.




SEE ALSO
Drug charge sailor returns home
18 Nov 05 |  Hampshire
Drug charge sailor finally freed
17 Nov 05 |  Hampshire
Yachtsman waits on trial decision
24 Oct 05 |  Hampshire

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