Smugglers stash £1 million of cocaine in face masks headed to UK

Smugglers stash £1 million of cocaine in face masks headed to UK

In the current lockdown situation, drug dealers are resorting to more and more ingenious ways to sell their drugs. Dealers are disguising themselves, dressing up in supermarket and parcel delivery worker uniforms to make drop-offs on street corners and in people’s homes. Some are going undercover as runners and fitness fanatics in order to shift bags of crack and heroin around their community. Others are dressing up as fast food delivery motorcyclists and even nurses in order to avoid being questioned.

A £1 million stash of cocaine has now been discovered in boxes full of personal protective equipment (PPE) headed for the UK. The discovery was made in a Polish-registered van that was stopped at Coquelles on the French side of the Channel Tunnel. Boxes containing 14 kg of cocaine were seized from the vehicle and inspected by UK Border Force officers. They found 15 packages of the Class A drug hidden among the face masks. The 34-year-old driver from Poland was arrested and taken into custody for questioning.

Now regulators are inspecting the masks to see if they are still safe to use. Border Force Regional Director for Coquelles Ian Hanson said: “This seizure shows the lengths drug smugglers will go to. It is despicable to think they would try and exploit the current situation in this way to get their dangerous drugs on to the UK’s streets”.

“It is testament to the expertise of my Border Force officers that this smuggling attempt was prevented and shows we remain active on the frontline in keeping the country safe from illegal drugs and the harm they cause.”

Mr Hanson added that every year Border Force officers seize Class A drugs worth hundreds of millions of pounds. They work together with law enforcement colleagues like the National Crime Agency (NCA) to prevent drug trafficking.

NCA Dover branch Operations Manager Darren Herbert said: “This seizure is further evidence of the way criminal networks are attempting to exploit the coronavirus outbreak to their own ends, covering this load of drugs with what would seem like vital protective equipment”.

The NCA are now investigating who was behind the attempt.

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