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Arrests After Cocaine Disguised as Charcoal Worth £120m Uncovered

Two men have been arrested after 1.6 tonnes of cocaine disguised as charcoal with a street value of more than £120m was discovered.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the Class A drug was found when Border Force officers searched a container carrying 800 sacks of charcoal arriving into London Gateway port from Panama.

It is thought to be the first time cocaine hidden in this manner has been seen in the UK.

Two farms were also raided on Thursday.

After the farm raids in Leicestershire, a 50-year-old, from Coalville in the county, and a 31-year-old, 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.

Cocaine charcoal disguise

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.”

Claudia Johnstone, Border Force Thames command assistant director, added: “We remain committed to working round the clock to intercept drug supply chains and will continue to work closely with our counterparts to identify and prevent the new methods criminals take to smuggling illegal drugs.”

Source : BBC