London Gateway port used as transfer point for Europe-bound cocaine from Colombian cartels
MORE than half a tonne of cocaine - worth more than 40 million on the streets - has been found hidden in a load of bananas. The National Crime Agency (NCA) announced yesterday that the shipment, which came from Colombia, was found at London Gateway port in Thurrock Essex on Tuesday (July 26). An agency spokesman said: "National Crime Agency officers have worked with Border Force to seize more than half a tonne of cocaine at London Gateway port. "The seizure was made from a consignment of bananas that had been shipped by boat to the UK from Colombia.
"NCA investigators had identified that the consignment was destined for the Netherlands, but it was intercepted on Tuesday 26 July. "Officers estimate the haul would have had a UK street level value of more than £40 million once cut and sold." NCA Branch Operations Manager Adam Berry said: “Taking out a consignment of this size will have been a huge blow to the criminal network involved in this shipment, preventing them from making millions of pounds that would have been invested in further criminality. “Class A drugs are peddled by gangs involved in violence and exploitation in our communities. “The NCA works hard with partners to stop drugs getting that far, and making seizures like this demonstrate how we can break that link between international drug cartels and street-level dealers.” The port is being used as a transfer point for drugs bound for mainland Europe by major cartels. In November 2020 a tonne of cocaine worth an estimated £100 million was found concealed in a shipment of banana pulp, that came from Colombia, at the same port. It was destined for Antwerp. Two months earlier Border Force officers discovered 1,155 kilograms of cocaine in a shipment of paper - also bound for Antwerp.