BORDER Force officers, working alongside the National Crime Agency (NCA), at DP World London Gateway have seized approximately 436 kilos of cocaine with a potential estimated street value of Â£65 million.
The drugs had been hidden inside a shipping container laden with yams that had arrived on a ship from Costa Rica. When officers examined the 20 pallets of yams they discovered six on which every box had a false bottom concealing a package weighing approximately 1.5 kilos. The contents of the packages were tested and gave a positive result to cocaine.
The drugs were discovered on 4 June and, for operational reasons, details of the seizure could not be made public until now.
The ongoing investigation is being led by the NCA. On 9 June, they arrested three men, aged 22, 24 and 26, at an industrial unit in Park Royal, west London, on suspicion of importing class A drugs. The men have been bailed pending further enquiries.
Mark Kennedy, Border Force Assistant Director, said:
“Border Force officers play a crucial role in securing our borders against drug smuggling. In this case, their professionalism has meant that dangerous Class A drugs have been seized and will no longer end up in our communities where they can do so much harm.
“We continue to work with our colleagues from the National Crime Agency to do all we can to stamp out this despicable trade and bring those responsible to justice.”
Border Force officers are the front line in protecting the country and play a key role in detecting illegal immigration, disrupting serious and organised crime and helping to prevent the threat of terrorism. Border Force also protects the UK’s revenue, contributing to the nation’s prosperity and growth.
They use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners – as well as visual searches – to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling can call the hotline on 0800 59 5000.