£1 million worth of cocaine found in face masks seized at Channel Tunnel

15 April 2020, 19:18

The stash of cocaine was found inside a shipment of face masks
The stash of cocaine was found inside a shipment of face masks. Picture: Home Office

By Megan White

A stash of cocaine worth over £1 million has been seized after it was found concealed inside a shipment of face masks at the Channel Tunnel.

Border Force officers discovered around 14 kilograms of the Class A drug inside the consignment on Tuesday.

Officers at the UK control zone in Coquelles stopped a Polish-registered van, which was attempting to enter the UK via the Tunnel.

They searched the vehicle and found a box of 15 wrapped packages concealed within the van, which was transporting boxes of protective face masks.

The driver, a 34-year-old Polish man, was arrested and remains in custody.

Over £1 million of cocaine was discovered at the Channel Tunnel
Over £1 million of cocaine was discovered at the Channel Tunnel. Picture: Home Office

Ian Hanson, Border Force regional director for Coquelles, 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 front line in keeping the country safe from illegal drugs and the harm they cause.

“Every year, Border Force officers seize Class A drugs worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

“Working with law enforcement colleagues like the National Crime Agency (NCA) we are determined 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.

“We are now investigating who was behind this attempt, but what is clear is that they have taken a substantial hit.

“At UK street prices this haul might have raised more than £1 million once adulterated and cut down – profit that they have now been denied.”