HEROIN worth more than £5 million – the biggest haul of the drug found in the UK this year – has been seized at the Port of Felixstowe, it was revealed today.
The estimated 80kg of the drug had been shipped from Asia in a single container listed as chilli powder.
Border Agency officials and officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) took part in a joint operation, carrying out surveillance on the consignment for four days before arresting five men.
Attention was drawn to the shipment by a discrepancy in the paperwork and when the container arrived at Felixstowe it was selected for further examination.
When officers opened the doors they found six hundred 20kg sacks of red chilli powder.
Initial examination identified an inconsistency in the weight of one of the sacks and inside it officers found 12 one kg packages of a fawn coloured powder hidden among the chilli. Tests revealed the powder was heroin.
Six other sacks in the final row of the container were also found to have heroin hidden inside.
Head of Border Force for the UK Border Agency, Brodie Clark said: “This is a major seizure that reflects the robust controls we have in place at the UK border.
“Heroin is a dangerous Class A drug that wrecks the lives not only of individual users, but also their families and the wider community.
“The UK Border Agency is responsible for immigration and customs controls at the border. We will continue to fight the threat that drug smuggling poses to the UK.”
Officers frrom SOCA arrested five men at Waymills Industrial Estate in Whitchurch, Shropshire.
Two were subsequently charged with importation of Class A drugs and appeared at Telford Magistrates’ Court on Monday. Father and son Gulab, 50, and Khalid Mohammed, 28, of Hugh Road, Birmingham, were remanded in custody until November 23.
The three other men, all from Birmingham, have been bailed without charge until January 10.
By Richard Cornwell, Felixstowe editor
Wednesday, 17 November, 2010
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