In one of the biggest cocaine hauls in UK history, authorities have confiscated nearly four tonnes of cocaine found in boxes of bananas in Southampton.
Authorities say it is the largest seizure of the Class A substance in the UK for seven years, according to the Home Office.
The containers recently arrived in the Southampton’s dock from Colombia.
Once the goods arrived, the UK’s Border Force and National Crime Agency (NCA) targeted them for inspection where they discovered more than 3.7 tonnes of cocaine hydrochloride, used to make crack cocaine, concealed within a container of 20 pallets of bananas.
The white powdery substance estimated to have a value of around £300 million was found on March 17, 2022, authorities said on Wednesday, April 6.
Reacting to the development, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
‘This is the largest seizure of cocaine in the UK since 2015. It should serve as a warning to anyone trying to smuggle illegal drugs into the country that we are out to get them.
‘A key focus of our beating crime plan is disrupting the supply chain and relentless pursuit of the criminals peddling these narcotics, making the drugs market a low-reward high risk enterprise.
‘The police and Border Force have my 100% backing to use all available powers to stop devastating drugs from coming into our neighbourhoods and destroying lives.’
The NCA branded the seizure ‘monumental’ and said it denied organised crime groups massive profits.
‘There’s no doubt some of this cocaine would have been cut up and sold across UK streets, feeding crime and misery in our communities’, Peter Stevens, the organisation’s regional head of investigations, said.