July 27, 2020

£15m of cocaine seized at London Gateway port, Thurrock

Cocaine worth more than £15 million has been seized hidden under the floor of a shipping container carrying bananas from Costa Rica.

A 40ft temperature-controlled container that had been shipped from Central America and carrying a load of bananas was searched at London Gateway port in Thurrock, Essex.

The smugglers had raised the floor of the truck before stuffing it with drugs and welding it back on in what investigators said was a ‘rare and sophisticated’ method.

The container was on its way to Germany when it was intercepted last Monday, Border authorities said.

An X-Ray scan of the container found an anomaly in the floor and when officers looked closer they discovered the floor cavity, which would normally be packed with insulation, was instead filled with blocks of cocaine.

A total of 380kg of the class A drug, with an estimated street value of £15.2 million was unearthed during an operation that took 19 hours to finish, Border Force said.

Chris Philp, Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts, said: “Illegal drugs have a significant impact on our society, being the root cause behind countless burglaries, thefts and robberies.

“They are also used as a commodity by organised criminals linked to violence and exploitation of the vulnerable.

“This is just one example of the crucial work that Border Force officers do every day to help keep the UK safe. Detections of dangerous Class A drugs such as this are testament to their dedication and expertise.”

Following the discovery of the haul of cocaine, the seizure was referred to the National Crime Agency.

Border Force Assistant Director Pete Roffey said: “This was a sophisticated concealment and one that is rarely seen in the UK.

“The smugglers had cut the inner floor, raised it, removed and scraped out the insulation, packed in the drugs and then welded the inner floor back in place.

“They had left relatively little evidence that the container had been tampered with.”

Source: www.echo-news.co.uk

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