Tons of Cocaine Disguised as Charcoal Intercepted in London Docks.

Photo credit: National Crime Agency. Tons of cocaine disguised as bags of charcoal have been intercepted by police in London's dockland.
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By Editor-June 19th, 2023.

Two men have been arrested after 1.6 metric tons of cocaine disguised as bags of charcoal with a street value of more than £120m was discovered in a container at the Port of London.

The drugs were found on 8 June when customs officers, who were working with the NCA, searched a container carrying 800 sacks of charcoal that arrived into London Gateway port on a ship from Panama.

Exactly how the police knew where to search for this haul is unknown.

It is thought to be the first time cocaine hidden in this manner has been seen in the UK. However black cocaine disguised as computer printer toner has been found in Panama by trained drug dogs.

Two farms were also raided on Thursday.

After the farm raids in Leicestershire, a 50-year-old man, from Coalville in the county, and a 31-year-old man, from Nottingham, were arrested at an address in Coalville.

Two self-loading pistols and a self-loading rifle were also found at the property. The weapons are now being forensically examined.

Those arrested are being questioned on suspicion of importing Class A drugs, with searches continuing.

The NCA said the drugs were disguised as charcoal using “a sophisticated chemical method”, and would have required treatment in a laboratory to retrieve the substances.

NCA regional head of operations Jacque Beer said: “The NCA focuses on the organised crime groups presenting the most significant threat to the UK, and this includes those involved in the international trafficking of Class A drugs.

“This operation has prevented a huge amount of cocaine from making it on to the streets, where it would have generated criminal profit and fuelled further violence and exploitation.”

Sources: National Crime Agency press release, BBC News.
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