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Cocaine haul found at Felixstowe

PUBLISHED: 08:26 24 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:04 03 March 2010

CUSTOMS officers are expecting to swoop on an international drug smuggling ring after finding cocaine worth around £5 million at Felixstowe Port.

Officers who were suspicious about a container at Felixstowe, Suffolk, which had come on a boat from the Caribbean, found 75 kilos of cocaine when they secretly checked it.

CUSTOMS officers are expecting to swoop on an international drug smuggling ring after finding cocaine worth around £5 million at Felixstowe Port.

Officers who were suspicious about a container at Felixstowe, Suffolk, which had come on a boat from the Caribbean, found 75 kilos of cocaine when they secretly checked it.

Under Operation Holla, the customs team allowed the container, without the drugs, to be transferred to another boat as planned and tracked it as it sailed on to Lebanon.

Officers worked closely with Egyptian and Lebanese authorities and two men have since been arrested and charged with drug offences in Lebanon.

The six-week operation began with the discovery of the drugs on November 7 but Customs and Excise only released details at the weekend.

The drugs were in a container full of clothing which arrived at Felixstowe Port from Curacao and was bound for Beirut via Egypt.

The drugs were removed by Customs and on December 1 the container was allowed to continue its journey under surveillance.

Working through the Foreign Office, customs officials worked with overseas colleagues as the container was tracked through Damietta in Egypt and on to Beirut.

It was kept under constant observation in Beirut by Lebanese law enforcers and five days later a man was arrested as he arrived to clear it.

A customs spokesman said another man has also been arrested and Lebanese authorities are expecting more arrests soon.

The spokesman added: "The result of this operation clearly indicates that international and diplomatic efforts are of paramount importance in the fight against drugs smuggling.

"This successful conclusion enforces the international role of HM Customs and Excise and highlights what can be achieved by global co-operation.

"We are delighted to be at the heart of international anti-drugs action."


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