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‘Huge’ £120m heroin haul found in bags of rice arriving on Suffolk coast

PUBLISHED: 12:23 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:32 18 September 2020

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said its investigators had developed intelligence and knew the drugs would be on board  Picture: NCA

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said its investigators had developed intelligence and knew the drugs would be on board Picture: NCA

NCA

One of the country’s largest ever seizures of heroin has been made at the Port of Felixstowe.

More than a tonne of class A drugs valued at £120 million was found in a shipment of rice arriving on the Suffolk coast  Picture: NCAMore than a tonne of class A drugs valued at £120 million was found in a shipment of rice arriving on the Suffolk coast Picture: NCA

More than a tonne of class A drugs valued at £120 million was found in a shipment of rice arriving on the Suffolk coast.

Heroin and morphine derivatives weighing a total of 1,196kg were recovered from container ship, the ‘Sembawang’, after it docked last weekend.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said its investigators had developed intelligence and knew the drugs would be on board when the boat docked in the UK en route to Antwerp.

The haul would be worth around £21m wholesale and in excess of £120m at street level.

Heroin and morphine derivatives weighing a total of 1,196kg were recovered from a container ship  Picture: NCAHeroin and morphine derivatives weighing a total of 1,196kg were recovered from a container ship Picture: NCA

The container was searched by NCA officers with support from Border Force after it docked on Saturday, September 12.

After removing the drugs during the early hours of Sunday morning, officers returned the container to the vessel, which continued on to Antwerp and docked in the Belgian port city on September 15.

Under surveillance by Dutch and Belgian law enforcement agencies, the container was driven by lorry to a warehouse south of the Hague, the Netherlands.

Upon arrival, officers moved in and arrested three people – the driver and two men involved in the unloading.

One of the country’s largest ever seizures of heroin has been made at the Port of Felixstowe  Picture: NCAOne of the country’s largest ever seizures of heroin has been made at the Port of Felixstowe Picture: NCA

At the same time, a man, aged 45 and suspected of being a UK facilitator in an organised crime group, was arrested on the M40 by Thames Valley Police assisting the NCA.

Nikki Holland, NCA director of investigations, said: “This is a huge seizure, which has denied organised criminals tens of millions of pounds in profits, and is the result of a targeted, intelligence-led investigation, carried out by the NCA with international and UK partners.

“We know that a lot of these drugs would have ultimately been sold in the UK, through county lines networks.

“There is violent competition between rival organised crime groups at all stages of class A drug production and supply. The business model also involves the exploitation of vulnerable adults and children both in the UK and overseas.

Minister for Immigration Compliance and Courts Chris Philp said: “This was a large seizure of dangerous drugs and I would like to congratulate Border Force and NCA officers for their efforts.”


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