Lorry driver charged after cocaine found in frozen meat load
A lorry driver has been charged after cocaine with a street value in excess of £20 million was found hidden in blocks of frozen meat by Border Force officers at Harwich.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said more than 200kg was seized from the Dutch-registered refrigerated HGV when it arrived at the Essex port from Hook of Holland on Monday (November 11).
A spot check by the Border Force officers uncovered the packages of cocaine that had been wrapped in frozen meat and then loaded onto pallets in the back of the lorry.
The driver, 48-year-old Robert Tromp from Hillegom in the Netherlands, was questioned by NCA investigators and later charged with attempting to import Class A drugs.
NCA branch commander Jacque Beer said: “While forensic checks are still being carried out on this seizure, it is likely that the total haul would have had a street value in excess of £20 million once cut and sold at a street purity level.
“Our investigation into those responsible is continuing, but we can say that this will have put a big dent in the profits of the criminal network likely to be behind it and caused them substantial disruption.
“The illicit drug trade is a key driver behind the gang violence and exploitation we see on UK streets, which is why we, along with partners like Border Force, are determined to do all we can to stop drugs at source and protect the public. This was an excellent detection by our Border Force colleagues.”
Tromp appeared before Colchester magistrates on Tuesday (November 12) and was remanded in custody to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on December 12.