Colombian cocaine worth £40 million found hidden in banana shipment at Essex port
Cocaine worth £40m has been discovered hidden within a batch of bananas at an Essex port.
More than half a tonne of the class A drug was found on a boat that had travelled from Colombia to the London Gateway facility on the Thames.
National Crime Agency investigators intercepted the shipment, which had been en route to the Netherlands, on Tuesday.
Hundreds of huge cocaine slabs were found wedged alongside bananas in cardboard boxes.
The NCA said the haul would have had a UK street value of more than £40m once cut and sold.
Adam Berry, NCA branch operations manager, said the seizure was a “huge blow” to the peddlers.
He said: “Taking out a consignment of this size will have been a huge blow to the criminal network involved in this shipment, preventing them from making millions of pounds that would have been invested in further criminality. Class A drugs are pedalled by gangs involved in violence and exploitation in our communities.”
The find comes just four months after another shipment of cocaine hidden within batches of bananas was uncovered in Southampton.
That haul had a potential street value of £302m and was found within five pallets of the fruit, which had also arrived from Colombia.
Speaking at the time, home secretary Priti Patel said it had been the “largest seizure of cocaine in the UK since 2015”.
Last month, some £68m worth of the drug was found by supermarket staff unpacking bananas in the Czech Republic.
Workers in stores across the east European country called police after coming across the drug as they opened crates – which had also come from Colombia.