Multi-million-pound South American drugs ring smashed at Immingham Docks
BORDER officials believe they have closed down a major South American drug-smuggling operation after seizing cocaine valued at an estimated £6.5-million at Immingham Docks.
The drugs were discovered hidden in loads of coal being transported into the port from Puerto Prodeco, in Columbia, in three separate raids conducted since June.
And, following a fruitless search of a fourth vessel from the area late last week, officials now believe the smugglers may have got the message that Immingham is not a soft touch.
As reported, the first haul of 20 kilos of high grade cocaine was discovered on the ER Borneo on Saturday, June 2; a further 45 kilos were found on the CSK Glory on Monday, August 13.
And it's now been revealed that another eight kilos were discovered on Monday, August 27, following a search of the MV Frontier Island.
As yet, no arrests have been made in connection with the seizures, but investigations are continuing. The drugs have been destroyed.
As reported, on Tuesday, August 28, another 10 kilos of cocaine were found concealed in a lorry on a ferry from Rotterdam, leading to the arrest of a 50-year-old Polish man, who has since been released on bail.
However, Border Force officials do not believe this incident to be linked with the others.
Border Force spokesman Sam Bullimore said that it was believed the reason North East Lincolnshire had been targeted was that one of Puerto Prodeco's major exports was coal – and Immingham is one of the country's biggest bulk container ports.
He said: "That makes Immingham the ideal area for smugglers with that modus operandi.
"From there, once the drugs are taken off the ship and go inland, you have got the issue of distributing it.
"There may not be a gang based in Immingham or Grimsby – though there has to be some way of getting it off the ship and that's the interesting part from our point of view.
"This was a significant smuggling route, and these seizures will put a major dent in the profits of the criminal gang behind this specific plot.
"This success sends a clear