Lorry driver jailed for attempting to smuggle cocaine worth £500k into Kent

A lorry driver who attempted to smuggle half a million pounds worth of cocaine into the UK has been jailed.

Border force officers found five packages containing the class A drug in his cab when he was stopped at Dover in September.

Gitanas Eitmanavicius, 48, from Kaunas, Lithuania, was jailed for six and half years.

Eitmanavicius was making a legitimate delivery of sofas to Hastings in East Sussex in September when he was stopped at the border.

A search of his lorry cab found three packages hidden in the truck's air conditioning unit, with a further two hidden in the back of the cab's seats.

He initially told National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators that he was delivering them on behalf of someone he met at a service station in the Netherlands.

He also said he thought they contained food or tobacco.

But later Eitmanavicius admitted that he knew the packages contained cocaine after lab tests confirmed it was the drug.

He pleaded guilty to attempting to import a class A drug into the UK.

Martin Grace, NCA Dover Branch Commander said that "people and communities" feel the cost of the drug trade, which "is almost always linked to serious and organised crime."

“This seizure stopped a considerable amount of cocaine from reaching users in the UK and causing harm, and the man who tried to bring it in is now behind bars.

“Working with partners like Border Force we are determined to do all we can to disrupt the organised crime networks who profit from this business.”