A lorry driver who tried to smuggle hundreds of kilos of cocaine into the UK on behalf of an organised crime group has been jailed for 13-and-a-half years.
National Crime Agency investigators found evidence that Darryl Sellars, aged 33, from Crowle near Scunthorpe, was in contact with other members of the criminal network in the run up to the attempt, which happened on 28 February 2023.
Examination of his computers found that he had searched the internet for ‘helpful tips when dealing with police sniffer dogs’ and ‘how to conceal drugs from drug-sniffing dogs’.
Overnight on the 26 February Sellars travelled out in his lorry to the Netherlands to collect the drugs.
He was arrested after returning on a ferry from the Hook of Holland into the port of Killingholme in north Lincolnshire two days later.
Border Force officers discovered 290 kilos of cocaine hidden amongst a load of frozen mushrooms. The haul would have had a street value of more than £23 million.
He was questioned by officers from the NCA and Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit before being charged with class A importation offences.
Sellars pleaded guilty at his first court hearing and was sentenced at Grimsby Crown Court yesterday [Thursday 22 June].
NCA Senior Investigating Officer Lee Stanton said:
“Organised crime groups need smugglers like Sellars to bring their contraband into the UK.
“His was an important role in a wider criminal network, and our investigation into that network continues.
“Working with partners like Border Force and the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit we are determined to do all we can to target and disrupt the criminal groups involved in trafficking drugs into the UK.”
Christina Brown, Regional Director of Border Force North said:
“Border Force remain committed to working round the clock to intercept drug supply chains and will continue work closely with our counterparts to identify and prevent the new methods criminals take to smuggling illegal drugs.
“With thanks to the joint efforts of the NCA, Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit and Border Force, over £23 million worth of cocaine has been prevented from plaguing UK streets.”
Anyone with information about this type of illegal activity, particularly lorry drivers who we know can be approached by organised criminals, should contact the police on 101 or the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
23 June 2023