£19 million of cocaine found stashed in lorries carrying toys and paper at Dover port
Three people have been arrested after a staggering 190kg of cocaine worth about £19 million was found hidden in lorries carrying toys and paper at the Port of Dover.
The drugs were discovered in two HGVs by Border Force officials on Monday in two seizures that are not thought to be connected, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
In one HGV arriving from the Netherlands, carrying a consignment of paper and card, a void in the floor was found to contain an estimated 140kg of the class A drug with the street value of about £14 million.
In the second vehicle, carrying a load of toy building blocks, officers discovered two holdalls in side lockers containing roughly 50kg of cocaine, with a potential value of around £5 million.
The NCA said 62-year-old Dutch national Gerrit Van Eckeveld, from Nieuwegein in the Netherlands, was arrested in relation to the 140kg discovery, and later charged with importing cocaine.
He was remanded in custody following an appearance at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, and is due to appear at Canterbury Crown Court on May 20.
Two Czech nationals arrested on suspicion of importing the 50kg have been released under investigation while inquiries continue, the NCA said.
NCA Dover branch commander Martin Grace said: “These seizures demonstrate that the organised 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.
“These two seizures have deprived those networks of a substantial amount of drugs and, crucially, a substantial amount of profit that would have been reinvested in more criminality.
“Working with partners like Border Force, we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle crime groups involved in drug distribution.”
Dave Smith, Border Force regional director, said: “This was a very successful day’s work for our officers who, between the two seizures, have taken a very substantial amount of drugs out of circulation.
“Border Force remains active on the front line, keeping the country safe from illegal drugs.”