DOPES: The smugglers got nothing after the NCA made this whopping seizure
INTERNATIONAL drug smugglers waiting for £40 million worth of heroin took an empty container to Rotterdam after the shipment was intercepted by the British National Crime Agency (NCA) at Felixstowe.
Criminals had concealed 398 kilograms of the Class A drug in towels and bathrobes on a container vessel destined for Antwerp in Belgium.
However, acting on intelligence, officers from the UK Border Force and the NCA were waiting for it when it docked at Felixstowe on August 1.
An NCA spokesman said: "The heroin was removed and the container returned to the vessel, which carried on to the port of Antwerp.
"On arrival, the container was collected by lorry and taken to Rotterdam – all the time under police surveillance. "On August 5, as suspects took steps to unload the contents, Dutch Police moved in and made two arrests."
It is one one of the largest ever seizures of heroin in the UK.
The NCA simultaneously arrested a man from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, who is currently being questioned by officers.
BIG LOSS: The drugs were worth a total of £40 million if sold on the streets
The spokesman added: "The drugs would be worth at least £9m to organised criminals selling the whole consignment at wholesale, and at least £40m at street level in the UK and other European countries."
NCA regional Operations Manager, Colin Williams, said: “The seizure of such a large quantity of heroin is the result of a targeted, intelligence-led investigation, carried out by the NCA with international and UK partners.
“It is almost certain that some of these drugs would have been sold in the UK, fuelling violence and exploitation including what we see in county lines offending nationwide.
HAUL: The drugs were removed from this Maersk export container
“The heroin trade also feeds addictions that put users’ lives at risk, while giving rise to crime such as theft which make people feel unsafe in their communities.
“The NCA works in the UK and with partners around the world to target the crime groups posing the greatest threat to the UK.”
Mark Kennedy, Border Force Deputy Director, said: “Border Force officers operate on the front line, working every day to keep dangerous Class A drugs like this off the UK’s streets. “Substantial seizures like this help to keep communities safe and hit the organised crime groups involved in the international drugs trade hard.”