£76 million worth of cocaine has been seized from a banana shipment heading out of the UK.
The shipment was discovered onboard a commercial vessel at Southampton’s port today, January 22, and was reportedly heading for Antwerp, Belgium.
The cocaine weighed 946kg (2,085lb) and had a potential street value of £76m according to the UK Border Force. While it was discovered on UK soil, it’s believed the drugs were placed in banana boxes in the cargo of the ship in Colombia.
The Border Force discovered the large amount of cocaine after identifying some anomalies following various searches and visual checks, Sky News reports.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has since issued a statement that reads:
This was drug smuggling on an industrial scale so I’m delighted that Border Force officers have prevented such a large quantity of dangerous goods from reaching our streets.
Drugs devastate communities, line the pockets of serious criminals, and are a serious driver of the violence which ruin young lives right across the country.
She continued, ‘We are sending a strong signal to criminals in the UK and abroad seeking to smuggle drugs into or through the UK: your efforts will fail and we will use every part of our law enforcement powers to stop drugs from coming into the UK.’
Tim Kingsberry, a regional director for Border Force, added:
This significant seizure has removed a large amount of dangerous drugs from the streets, which not only reduces the significant harm they cause to communities but also makes a huge dent in the profits of smugglers.
It’s unknown if any arrests have taken place following today’s discovery in Southampton.
This isn’t the only huge drug haul to have happened recently; just last week the Spanish authorities seized nearly a million ecstasy tablets following a year-long investigation.
827,000 ecstasy tablets, 76kg of speed, 39.5kg of crystal meth and 217 litres of liquid amphetamine were retrieved in the haul which was described as the country’s largest haul of synthetic drugs.
The drugs were located in four different places; Barcelona, Seville, Ibiza and Málaga. Eleven people were arrested as a consequence are facing charges for drug trafficking, belonging to a criminal organisation and illegally possessing weapons.
Police also seized 2,000 doses of LSD, 1.65kg of pink cocaine, 310kg of hashish, 89kg of pre-packaged marijuana, two pistols, a pair of mortar shells, a machete, nine vehicles and €267,000, among other items.
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