Cocaine worth more than £25m has been seized from a vehicle claiming to be taking medical supplies to a hospital.
The Belgian-registered van was stopped at border controls in Coquelles, France, as it headed towards the UK.
Border Force officers searching the van on Tuesday found an estimated 285kg of cocaine hidden among dry ice
Belgian national Padmore Asamoah was charged with the attempted importation of a Class A drug, and appeared before Medway Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
He was remanded in custody to appear at Maidstone Crown Court on 3 June.
Authorities on the French border have seized more than £25m worth of cocaine from a fake medical supplies van that had been destined for the UK.
It had been claimed the vehicle – a Belgian-registered van – was passing through Coquelles, France to transport vital medical supplies to the UK in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
However after passing through UK border controls, officers were unable to uncover 285kg of the class-A drug hidden amongst dry ice, the Home Office has said.
Belgian national Padmore Asamoah, of no fixed UK address, has since been charged with the attempted importation of a Class A drug.
Chris Philp, minister for immigration compliance, said: “Criminals will look to exploit any situation for their advantage, including the current pandemic.
“They may hope that shipments listed as medical supplies might be subject to less scrutiny, but Border Force are alert to the risks.
“This seizure has taken millions of pounds worth of cocaine out of the hands of organised criminals and off our streets. Drugs are currency for organised gangs and are intrinsically linked to crime and violence.
Border Force will continue to work with the NCA to bring those involved in drug smuggling to justice.”
Mr Asamoah appeared at Medway Magistrates Court on Wednesday where he was remanded in custody to appear at Maidstone Crown Court on 3 June.
It comes just days after another 260 kilos of cocaine was stopped at the same border crossing.
Criminals will look to exploit any situation for their advantage, including the current pandemic.’, immigration minister says
—BBC & The Indepent UK