• Tuesday, April 16, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Police make record drugs seizure in Southampton

The National Crime Agency said that 5.7 tonnes of cocaine were found in a container at the port of Southampton. (Picture for representation iStock)

Shajil KumarBy: Shajil Kumar

British police said Friday that they had made what is believed to be its biggest-ever seizure of serious drugs.

The National Crime Agency said that 5.7 tonnes (5,700 kg) of cocaine were found in a container at the port of Southampton on England’s south coast on February 8.

The drug haul was discovered hidden in a cargo of bananas that had been transported from South America, the agency said in a statement.

It had an estimated value of £450 million based on UK street prices, the NCA added.

Officers believe the drugs were heading to Hamburg in Germany “for onward delivery”, the statement said.

“This record-breaking seizure will represent a huge hit to the international organised crime cartels involved, denying them massive profits,” said NCA director Chris Farrimond.

The previous largest seizure of drugs in the UK was 3.7 tonnes of cocaine found in Southampton in 2022.

The NCA estimates that criminal gangs make around £4 billion a year from Britain’s illegal cocaine market.

“While the destination for the consignment was continental Europe in this case, I have no doubt that a significant proportion would have ended up back here in the UK, being peddled by UK criminal gangs,” Farrimond said.

“The NCA is targeting international networks upstream and overseas, disrupting and dismantling them at every step. International law enforcement cooperation is essential to this mission,” he added.

Officers are now working to identify the criminal networks involved in this shipment.

The minister for legal migration and the border, Tom Pursglove, said the government takes a zero-tolerance approach to the supply of illegal drugs. (Agencies)

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