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NCA seizes record £17.5m drugs haul at Channel Tunnel

The National Crime Agency has revealed three major arrests – and the discovery of the biggest Class A drugs haul at the Channel Tunnel.

Two operations led by the NCA have resulted in arrests and a record seizure of hard drugs.

A joint operation between the National Crime Agency and the Border Force resulted in the discovery of more than 70kg of heroin and 125kg cocaine hidden within the panels of a Belgian van.

The NCA said it was the largest of its kind at the Channel Tunnel – with an estimated street value of £17.5m.  

Branch Commander Mark Howes from the NCA, said: “These drugs destined for the streets of the UK would have fuelled addiction, violence and exploitation. The organised crime group responsible has been deprived of a substantial profit as a result of this seizure.”

Border Force officers intercepted the vehicle at the Tourist Controls and during a subsequent search of the van, the drugs were found.

A 68-year-old from Belgium and 60-year-old from the Netherlands were arrested in Coquelles as they tried to enter the UK. They were charged with the importation of Class A drugs.

Director of Border Force Europe Ian Hanson, said: “This seizure and others like it send a clear message to anyone considering attempting to smuggle illegal drugs into the country that we remain committed and prepared to tackle drug supply chains.”

It’s just the latest in a string of successes for the NCA which began after intelligence was shared from the EnchroChat network just before lockdown.

The intelligence from the closed phone network, which was broken by Dutch police, was a treasure trove of information on offenders.

The agency also confirmed one of the UK’s most wanted men has been arrested in Bulgaria.

Benjamin Macann, 32, was arrested yesterday at a hotel in the southern city of Plovdiv.

He was located and arrested after an operation by the National Crime Agency, Bulgarian police and Spanish Guardia Civil.

He is wanted by Norfolk Police for allegedly conspiring to supply class A drugs.

Macann, formerly of Dereham, Norfolk, is accused of supplying multi kilogrammes of cocaine in 2020 in which he and accomplices use encrypted handsets.

Detective Sergeant Eddie Hammond of the Norfolk and Suffolk Serious Organised Crime Unit said: “We continue to work with partners and law enforcement agencies around the world to locate our most wanted.

“We would like to thank them all for their continued determination and meticulous hard work as they continue to disrupt criminal networks around the world, meaning nowhere is safe to hide.”

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