Border Force officers at the Port of Tyne International Passenger Terminal, have seized approximately 115 kilos of cocaine, with a potential estimated street value of £9 million.
On the morning of Friday, 19 October, Border Force officers at the port’s inward controls stopped a Polish registered lorry recently arrived on a ferry from Amsterdam. After submitting the vehicle to an x-ray scan, officers conducted a physical examination and found packages hidden within the trailer.
The contents of the packages tested positive to a field test for cocaine. The drugs will now be sent for forensic analysis to determine the purity.
The investigation was passed to the NCA.
Andy Etherington. NCA Operations Manager, said:
“The National Crime Agency working with our colleagues at Border Force are committed 24/7 to protecting our borders and those who think that the North East Ports are a weak point to be taken advantage of should think again.
“Anyone who tries to exploit our borders by attempting to smuggle drugs from abroad will be brought to justice.
“Cocaine destined to be sold here in the UK by gangs will not now reach our streets. We are committed to keeping illegal substances and the harm they bring to communities out of the country.”
Rafal Chyl, 27, a Polish man of no fixed UK address, was subsequently charged with importing a Class A drug. He appeared at Newcastle Magistrates on Tuesday 23 October, where he was remanded in custody to next appear at Newcastle Crown Court on 22 November.
Liz Versi, Director of Border Force North said:
“It is the job of Border Force to stay one step ahead of the smugglers who would look to bring dangerous drugs like this into the country. This was a significant seizure by Border Force officers, who have prevented a large amount of dangerous Class A drugs from ending up on the streets of the UK.
“Every year Border Force officers seize Class A drugs worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Working with law enforcement colleagues like the National Crime Agency (NCA) we are determined to prevent drug trafficking.”
The Government's Serious Violence Strategy, which was launched in April, aims to combat the devastating impact drugs have on levels of serious violence.
It also highlights a strong link between drugs and serious violence and the related harm and exploitation from county lines. The Government has set out the action it will take to tackle this violent and exploitative criminal activity. The action of Border Force to stop drugs before they get into the country forms a key part of this work.
Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.
Nationally, 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 should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go to https://www.gov.uk/report-smuggling