Joint Police Scotland and NCA operation leads to £100m cocaine seizure

Two men have been arrested after cocaine with a street value of £100 million was found concealed in a consignment of fruit at Dover during a joint Police Scotland and National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.

Sep 23, 2020
By Paul Jacques

The discovery of around a tonne of cocaine was made in the early hours of Tuesday (September 22) by Organised Crime Partnership (Scotland) officers assisted by specialist Border Force search teams. The drugs were found in pallets that had arrived into Dover on a vessel from South America.

Following the seizure, Police Scotland and NCA officers arrested a 64-year-old man in Glasgow and a 40-year-old man in Brentwood, Essex, on suspicion of importing Class A drugs.

Searches have also been carried out at in Glasgow and Essex as the investigation continues.

Police Scotland’s Assistant Chief Constable Angela McLaren said: “This seizure is undoubtedly a massive setback for serious and organised criminals. This operation and our other recent successes, underlines our unwavering commitment to working with partners, including the NCA, Border Force and [Scotland’s] serious organised crime taskforce to seriously disrupt this sort of criminality.

“Working together we will relentlessly pursue those who seek to bring misery to our communities whether they are in Scotland or elsewhere in the world.”

The investigation is linked to Operation Venetic, which has so far seen hundreds of arrests across the UK following the infiltration of an encrypted organised crime communications platform.

NCA Director of Investigations Nikki Holland said: “This is a huge seizure of Class A drugs, made as a result of some excellent joint working between the NCA and Police Scotland under the Organised Crime Partnership (Scotland), and our Border Force colleagues.

“This operation has prevented a large amount of cocaine from making it on to our streets, we estimate that once adulterated and sold it could have had a street value of up to £100 million.

“So in making this seizure we have taken away a valuable commodity that would have been sold to fund further serious and organised criminality.

“Our investigation into this attempted importation is continuing.”

The Organised Crime Partnership (Scotland) is a covert investigation team comprising officers and staff from Police Scotland and the NCA.

Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts Chris Philip said: “This was another excellent seizure which demonstrates the work of Border Force officers who work tirelessly on the frontline to prevent Class A drugs such as cocaine from reaching the streets, where they can devastate lives and our society.

“We will continue to collaborate with law enforcement partners like the NCA and Police Scotland to disrupt organised criminal networks and ensure drugs smugglers face the full force of the law.”

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