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Cocaine worth £300 million seized hidden in pallets of bananas

Picture: National Crime Agency

Cocaine worth more £300 million on the streets has been found hidden in banana pallets.

Nearly four tonnes of cocaine hydrochloride – used in the making of crack cocaine – were discovered by officers from Border Force and the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The drugs were in five pallets of banana delivered to Southampton Docks from Colombia.

The seizure is the biggest in the UK since 2015.


Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

“This should serve as a warning to anyone trying to smuggle illegal drugs into the country that we are out to get them.

“A key focus of our Beating Crime Plan is disrupting the supply chain and relentless pursuit of the criminals peddling these narcotics, making the drugs market a low-reward high risk enterprise.

“The police and Border Force have my 100 per cent backing to use all available powers to stop devastating drugs from coming into our neighbourhoods and destroying lives.”

Tim Kingsberry, Regional Director of Border Force South, added:

“This is one of the largest seizures of cocaine in the UK for many years.

“Had it not been stopped; it would have ended up in the hands of gangs involved in street violence and exploitation.

“This seizure and others like it send a clear message to anyone considering trying to smuggle illegal drugs into the country that we will find it.

“The officers involved in this seizure can be proud of their outstanding efforts in preventing this drug consignment from reaching our communities and destroying lives.”

Peter Stevens, NCA regional head of investigations, said:

“This was a monumental seizure of cocaine with a street value of around £300 million.

“The organised crime group behind this importation has been denied massive profits which it would have ploughed back into more offending.

“There’s no doubt some of this cocaine would have been cut up and sold across UK streets, feeding crime and misery in our communities.”



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