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UK: 1.2 tonnes of cocaine seized after major NCA led drugs and corruption operation at port

Christian Fernsby |
A major National Crime Agency led operation targeting a suspected organised crime group alleged to have used an insider at Sheerness port in Kent has resulted in the arrest and charging of seven men and the seizure of around 1.2 tonnes of cocaine.

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In the early hours morning on 20 December, a cordon was put around the port and more than one hundred officers - including the NCA’s Armed Operations Unit and specialist firearms teams from Kent Police - moved in to carry out the strike.

The operation follows an NCA investigation into a group suspected of plotting with a port worker to smuggle significant amounts of class A into the UK drugs market through Sheerness. The investigation has been supported by Border Force and carried out with the cooperation of the port operator.

The operation saw a 27 year old man who worked as a security guard at the port arrested alongside five others.

A seventh man was detained at his home in Hertfordshire. A number of properties were searched following the arrests. After being questioned by NCA investigators all seven were charged with conspiring to import class A drugs.

NCA investigators believe the drugs had arrived on a boat from Costa Rica and were hidden inside a shipment of bananas. The haul has an estimated street value of more than £90 million. The investigation continues and anyone with information or suspicions about this type of activity is urged to contact Crimestoppers anonymously or the police via 101.

NCA Regional Head of Investigation Jacque Beer said: “Our investigation has focused on what we believe to be a dangerous group intent on importing large amounts of drugs to the UK, using insider contacts within the port.

In July the NCA issued a nationwide alert that furloughed port and airport workers might be vulnerable to OCGs trying to exploit the coronavirus crisis.

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