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£40 million of drugs seized as banana boat is raided in Portsmouth

The cocaine was discovered in a banana boat Credit: National Crime Agency

Cocaine with a likely UK street value of more than £40 million has been seized following an operation involving the National Crime Agency, Border Force and the Irish Garda.

The drugs were seized following the search of the cargo vessel Star Stratos at Portsmouth port on Monday evening.

Approximately 300 kilos were discovered concealed within a shipment of bananas which had originated in Colombia.

Investigations are continuing both in the UK and Ireland in conjunction with An Garda Síochána.

Deputy director Tom Dowdall, from the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command, said: “Working with our law enforcement partners in the UK and Ireland we have successfully prevented a huge quantity of what is likely to be very high purity cocaine reaching our streets.

“Our investigations into the organised crime groups likely to be responsible for this shipment continues.

“This seizure once again demonstrates the international reach of the NCA and the impact we are having on the criminal networks involved in drug trafficking.”

Men jailed for 14 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine

Paul Neale and Adam St George have been sentenced to ore than 14 years in jail Credit: Hampshire Police

Two men have been sentenced to over 14 years in prison after an investigation into the supply of a class A drug.

Paul Neale, who is 26-years-old and from Sandhurst and 32-year-old Adam St George from Bracknell were found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine in Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire.

Another man from Bracknell Christopher Evens was sentenced to a two year suspended sentence and fined £8000.

Two other men on the trial were found not guilty.

Speaking after the sentencing, officer in the case Detective Constable Frank Cregan from Hampshire Constabulary's Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said, "The sentences bring what has been a very detailed and challenging investigation to a close.

"In the course of our investigation we have seized £160,000 and just over five kilos of cocaine and amphetamine to the street value of £417,765."


Cocaine seized at Gatwick

Border Force officers at Gatwick Airport have seized approximately a kilo of cocaine with an estimated street value of £100,000.

Border Force officers stopped Roy Michael Grizzle, from Redhurst Drive, Wolverhampton on Thursday after he arrived on a flight from Jamaica.

After questioning the 52-year-old, officers searched luggage and discovered the drugs in the false bottoms of three plastic bottles containing aloe vera drink.

Mr Grizzle was charged with the attempted importation and will next appear at Croydon Crown Court on 22nd November.

Seizures like this demonstrate how Border Force officers are at the forefront of the fight to keep illegal drugs and other banned substances out of the UK.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call the smuggling Hotline on 0800 59 5000.

– Carole Upshall, Director of Border Force South

Massive cocaine smuggling ring at Heathrow arrested

A massive drugs smuggling ring have been smashed at Heathrow airport.

Eleven people, aged between 25 and 53, have been arrested in connection with the international, multi million pound cocaine smuggling ring.

It is thought to be one of the biggest in recent years.

Those arrested included a number of cargo workers for British Airways.

During the investigation, large quantities of near pure cocaine were recovered with a street value of millions of pounds.

The drugs would come into London Heathrow in cargo containers of flights from Mexico City. Once the aircraft arrived into the terminal, cargo handlers would quickly remove the drugs from the cargo containers before it was moved on.

Two charged after cocaine found in banana shipment

Border Force officers are investigating after they seized approximately 47 kilos of cocaine from a cargo ship at Dover on Sunday 8 September. The drugs are being examined but it's believed once cut and sold on the streets they could have had a potential value running into millions of pounds.

Officers from Border Force’s national deep rummage team found the drugs when they searched the hold of the MV Lady Korcula which was carrying bananas from Ecuador.

Two men, Carlos Aurelio Martinez Ponguillo and Fausto Humberto Flores Novoa, both from Ecuador appeared at Canterbury Magistrates Court on Tuesday, 10 September.

Both pleaded not guilty, were remanded in custody and will next appear at Canterbury Crown court on 30 September.

Cocaine found in cakes at Gatwick

Two people have been charged with drug trafficking offences after cocaine worth up to £1 million was found hidden inside cakes at Gatwick Airport.

The 10-kilo haul was seized from baggage at the airport's South Terminal on Thursday afternoon following the arrival of a flight from Jamaica.

A spokesman for the Border Force said two British nationals from the West Midlands had been charged with attempting to import a Class A drug.


Drugs seized 'could have flooded market'

If they had succeeded they would have flooded the UK with £90 million worth of cocaine. Today, two men were sentenced to more than 40 years in jail - for trying to smuggle the drugs into the country on a sailing boat.

The pair were caught red handed - just off the coast of the Isle of Wight - with the class A substance stuffed into packets and cylinders - and hidden behind false walls.

But they were stopped in time by the UK Border Agency - whose job it is to patrol our coastline and to prevent drugs getting onto our streets. Charlotte Wilkins reports and speaks to Tim Fleming from the UK Border Agency.

First pictures - Cocaine smugglers jailed

Tomasz Konrad Dylik Credit: Home Office

Two Polish men caught smuggling almost half a tonne of cocaine on a yacht off the Isle of Wight have been jailed for a total of 42 years.

Tomasz Konrad Dylik and Piotr Ryszard Pachnia were arrested in June last year after their vessel, Baila, was intercepted by Border Force officers.

Dylik pleaded guilty to drugs smuggling charges at Winchester Crown Court in September last year.

Pachnia was convicted by a jury at the same court on Wednesday last week, following a three-day trial.

Dylik, 48, of Lask Warszawska, was sentenced to 18 and a half years while Pachnia, 33, of Rzeczypospolitej, Gdansk, was sentenced to 24 years at the same court today.

Piotr Ryszard Pachnia Credit: Home Office

£90 million cocaine haul: first pictures

The cocaine seizure is thought to be one of the biggest in the UK Credit: Home Office

Two men who were caught with ninety million pounds worth of drugs on a yacht off the Isle of Wight have been sentenced to more than forty years in jail.

The cocaine was found by Border Agency officials during a search of the vessel in Portsmorth.

It's one of the largest seizures to be made in the UK.

The drugs were hidden behind false walls on the yacht "Baila" Credit: Home Office

More than 470 packages and cyclinders of cocaine were found hidden behind false walls, in compartments and a holdall when officers carried out a search of the yacht "Baila" in June last year at the naval dockyard.

In an earlier hearing at Winchester Crown Court earlier, Piotr Pachnia, who's 33, was handed a 24 year sentence - he was convicted of being in possession of 454 kilograms of the class A drug.

The yacht "Baila" was tracked from Plymouth Credit: Home Office

The captain, Thomas Dylik, who admitted the same charge, has been sent to prison for 18 and a half years.

The two had been living on the yacht which was being tracked for about 24 hours from waters off Plymouth until it was 11 miles south of the Isle of Wight.

Officials, suspicious illegal drugs could be on board, escorted it to Portsmouth .

The judge at today's sentencing commended the officers involved and said they'd prevented an "enormous amount of cocaine from ending up on the streets of this country".

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