Cocaine 'worth £184m' found in banana boxes sent from Colombia

By Tom Symonds
Home Affairs correspondent

Published
media captionArmed police can be seen breaking down a door and making arrests

Cocaine weighing 2,300kg and with an estimated value of £184m has been found inside a consignment of bananas that arrived in the UK from Colombia.

The haul of cocaine was intercepted in Portsmouth and the drugs were removed, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

The pallets were then loaded with dummy packages and delivered to Tottenham Industrial Estate in north London.

Ten people were arrested over the haul, which represents one of the UK's biggest ever drugs seizures.

The NCA said three people had been charged.

The raid was a joint operation between the NCA and the Met Police and was the culmination of a week-long investigation, following intelligence received by detectives.

image copyrightNCA
image captionThe consignment is equivalent to more than half the quantity of cocaine seized in an average year

Officers tracked the shipment of drugs on 41 pallets as it arrived in Portsmouth, where UK Border Force officers removed the cocaine.

The pallets were then delivered to Tottenham. Police moved in once enough evidence had been gathered from a surveillance operation at the site.

Body-worn footage showed armed officers breaking into storage units where the drugs had been due to be delivered.

'Five million drug deals'

The Met's Det Supt Simon Moring believes officers have cost organised criminals more than £100m in profits.

He said: "By the time that's divided down into deals we could be talking about five million drug deals.

"That's five million deals taken off the streets of the UK - that will have a profound effect on the price in the UK and the criminals involved."

John Coles, head of specialist operations at the NCA, said: "Illegal drugs are a corrosive threat and those who deal in cocaine are often violent and exploitative.

"Cocaine supply is directly linked to the use of firearms, knife crime and the exploitation of young and vulnerable people."

The consignment is equivalent to more than half the quantity of cocaine seized in an average year.

About 4,200kg of the drug was intercepted in the year to March 2020.

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