£1m Colombian cocaine stash seized at Immingham Docks
MORE than £1-million worth of cocaine has been seized from a ship at Immingham Docks.
The 20kg haul of drugs was found hidden in one of the vessel's tanks at the port, and it is thought the seizure will "significantly disrupt the activity of a criminal gang".
The ship, which was carrying coal, had travelled to the UK from Colombia via Rotterdam.
An investigation has been launched and the drugs – which could have been destined for the streets of North East Lincolnshire – will be destroyed.
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Sam Bullimore, of Border Force, said: "Cocaine is a vile and destructive drug, which ruins the lives of users and the wider community.
"This was a large find, which will significantly disrupt the activity of a criminal gang seeking to peddle their evil trade.
"We have strong links with law enforcement agencies in the UK and internationally in the ongoing fight against drug smuggling."
Whilst millions of illicit cigarettes – both counterfeit and duty evaded – are seized at Immingham Docks every year, a drugs find like this one, which happened in the early hours of last Saturday, is quite rare at the port.
However, there have been several high-profile seizures in the region as a whole during the last two decades.
In December 1998, we reported North East Lincolnshire's then-biggest haul of cocaine, weighing in at a staggering 492kg and with a street value of around £100-million, had been seized at Immingham Docks in a series of raids in November and December that year. Those were found in banana containers.
In April 2000, £1.5-million worth of cocaine was seized at Humberside Airport. Twelve kilos of the Class A drug were found in a suitcase that had arrived in Humberside from Caracas in Venezuela, via Amsterdam.
Elsewhere in Northern Lincolnshire, two Dutch men were arrested in September 2009 in connection with the discovery of up to £5.2-million worth of heroin stashed in a refrigerated food lorry carrying jam at Killingholme Docks.
In June the following year, Marcel Casper Gerardus Reitman and Mathieu Peter Josef Poulissen were jailed for 18 and 20 years respectively.
Since March this year, the Border Force has been a separate operational command, accountable directly to ministers as part of the Home Office.
Although no arrests have been made so far, any suspected offenders would be referred to HM Revenue and Customs for prosecution.