A Polish lorry driver has been jailed for nine years for attempting to import cocaine into the UK in the same truck his brother was caught smuggling in two years ago.
Piotr Chmielowiec, 49, from Krzemlin in Poland was stopped by Border Force officers at Dover on 7 August.
During a search of his lorry 14 sealed food boxes were found under the driver’s bunk, each containing a one kilo tape-wrapped package of cocaine. The drugs would have had a street value of £700,000 had they been cut and sold in the UK.
In interviews with National Crime Agency investigators Chmielowiec admitted placing the packages in the boxes and sealing them up, but claimed he believed they contained tobacco not cocaine.
He said he had been told to head to junction 11 of the M20 where the packages would be taken off him.
Officers also found that the same lorry had been used in a separate smuggling attempt in January 2016. On that occasion Chmielowiec’s brother had been arrested in possession of five kilos of cannabis. He was later handed a 20 month suspended jail sentence.
Chmielowiec pleaded guilty to attempting to import class A drugs and was sentenced to nine years in prison at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday 10 September.
NCA Dover operations manager Deborah Cook said:
“Piotr Chmielowiec clearly didn’t learn any lessons from his brother’s experience and as a result he faces a long time behind bars.
“Drugs like cocaine fuel violence and exploitation on our streets. Working with our colleagues at Border Force we are determined to disrupt the organised crime groups involved in drug trafficking, and one way we can do that is by catching and prosecuting smugglers such as Chmielowiec.”
Nick Drinkal, Deputy Director of Border Force South East and Europe, said:
“This is another excellent example of Border Force officers preventing a substantial quantity of drugs, with an estimated street level value of around £700,000, from ending up on the streets of the UK, where they cause significant harm to both individuals and communities.
“Working with our colleagues at the National Crime Agency (NCA) we are determined to do all we can to stop drug traffickers and ensure that those who involve themselves in this activity face the full consequences of their crimes.”