Border Force officers at Harwich International Port in Essex, England, have thwarted an attempt to smuggle approximately 54 kilos of cocaine into the United Kingdom.
Upon stopping an Irish-registered lorry carrying a load of frozen food, which had just arrived on a ferry from the Hook of Holland, they noticed anomalies in the trailer doors and conducted a search. Inside the trailer they found 47 wrapped packages concealed in metal lined containers.
The contents of some of the packages were tested and proved positive for cocaine. The drugs reportedly have a potential street value in excess of £4.86 million.
“This was a fantastic bit of work from the team. They have succeeded in taking a large amount of cocaine off our streets, where it can cause significant harm to both individuals and communities,” said Minister for Immigration Compliance Chris Philp.
He added: “Every year Border Force officers seize Class A drugs worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Working with law enforcement colleagues like the National Crime Agency (NCA), we will do all we can to stop drug traffickers and bring them to justice.”
A British man was arrested and the case has been passed to the NCA. He was interviewed and released under investigation.
NCA Branch Commander Jacque Beer commented: “This seizure shows that organized criminal networks involved in international drug trafficking continue to pose a threat to the UK, even with the restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Working with partners like Border Force, we will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to disrupt and dismantle crime groups involved in drug distribution.”
Border Force officers utilize high tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country. In addition to conducting visual checks they employ an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal narcotics, firearms and untaxed tobacco.