Border Force smashes UK cocaine smuggling route

 

A multimillion-pound cocaine smuggling route between South America and the UK has been smashed, the Border Force has said.

Officers believe they have closed down an important supply route through Immingham, North East Lincolnshire, after a series of large finds of the drug worth around £6.5 million in total.

The cocaine was all found hidden in loads of coal on bulk vessels that had travelled from Puerto Prodeco, in Colombia.

Seizures have been made on three different vessels in the last three months.

A spokesman said 20kg (45lbs) was found on the ER Borneo on June 2, 45kg (99lbs) on the CSK Glory on August 13, and 8kg (17.6lbs) on the MV Frontier Island on August 27.

He said that on each occasion the ships were raided by specially trained officers from the Border Force Deep Rummage Team, who found the drugs.

Sam Bullimore, from Border Force, said: "This was a significant smuggling route and these seizures will put a major dent in the profits of the criminal gang behind this specific plot.

"This success sends a clear message about the strength of the UK Border. Our expert Border Force officers use the latest technology and are supported by specialist Deep Rummage teams to make life as tough as possible for those involved in this evil activity.

"Cocaine destroys lives. Smuggling drugs is a vile trade that profits from the misery of others. We will continue to work closely with partner law enforcement agencies, both in the UK and abroad, to clamp down on the criminals involved."

No arrests have been made in connection with the seizures at this stage, but investigations are continuing, the Border Force said.

It said all the drugs will now be destroyed.

The Border Force said it has four National Deep Rummage Teams (NDRTs) which are based at Liverpool, Immingham, Felixstowe and Southampton, but operate across the UK.

The central base is in Liverpool where the teams operate their training vessel, the Altea.

NDRT Officers are able to board vessels as they tie up, and they can impose controls and perform detailed searches.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...