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Home Breaking NCA and Border Force Make Record-Breaking 5.7 Tonne Cocaine Seizure

NCA and Border Force Make Record-Breaking 5.7 Tonne Cocaine Seizure

In what is believed to be the largest ever seizure of class A drugs in the UK, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Border Force have intercepted a staggering 5.7 tonnes of cocaine.

The haul, concealed within a cargo of bananas, was discovered in a container at Southampton Port on 8 February. Specialized Border Force officers, summoned by the NCA’s Near Europe Task Force, unearthed the blocks of drugs, which had been transported from South America.

NCA officers surmise that the consignment was destined for the Port of Hamburg in Germany for onward distribution. Collaborative efforts with international partners across Europe are underway to identify the criminal networks involved in this illicit trade.

Valued at over £450 million based on UK street prices, this seizure dwarfs previous records. The last significant UK seizures saw 3.7 tonnes of cocaine intercepted at Southampton in 2022 and 3.2 tonnes aboard the tug boat MV Hamal in Scotland in 2015.

The domestic cocaine market, dominated by criminal gangs, nets an estimated £4 billion annually in the UK alone. Cocaine trafficking is intrinsically linked to serious violence, including firearms and knife crimes, throughout the supply chain, exacerbating the UK’s crime landscape.

NCA Director Chris Farrimond remarked, “This record-breaking seizure will represent a huge hit to the international organized crime cartels involved, denying them massive profits. The work of the NCA was crucial to making it happen.”

While the seized shipment’s intended destination was continental Europe, a significant portion would likely have found its way back to the UK, fuelling the operations of UK criminal syndicates.

Minister for Legal Migration and the Border, Tom Pursglove MP, emphasized the government’s uncompromising stance on illegal drug supply, commending the dedication of Border Force officers and the NCA in apprehending the record-breaking seizure.

The NCA’s Near Europe Task Force, funded through the Home Office Drug Strategy, plays a pivotal role in targeting the international drug supply chain, disrupting offenders, and thwarting organized criminal groups’ efforts to transport drugs into the UK.

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