Driver arrested for attempts to smuggle 14kilos of cocaine using facemasks

A 34-year-old Polish lorry driver has been arrested for attempts to smuggle 14kilos of cocaine estimated to be around £1 million into Britain.

Daily Mail reported that the driver had concealed the cocaine within boxes of vital personal protective equipment (PPEs) meant to help frontline workers in their fight against the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

The Border Force officers had uncovered the plot on stopping a Polish-registered van at Coquelles in Northern France on Tuesday.

Tests of some of the packages came back positive for the drug. The class-A drug was found wrapped in 15 different packages and hidden among the face masks inside the vehicle.

The Border Force Regional Director for Coquelles, Ian Hanson said the seizure has showed the length drug smugglers are willing to go to get things done.

“It is despicable,” he said. “To think they would try and exploit the current situation in this way to get their dangerous drugs on to the UK’s streets.”

He added that “It is testament to the expertise of my Border Force officers that this smuggling attempt was prevented and shows we remain active on the frontline in keeping the country safe from illegal drugs and the harm they cause.”

Mr Hanson said the force would continue to work with law enforcement agencies like the National Crime Agency (NCA) to ensure these people are brought to book.

The NCA’s branch operations manager, Darren Herbert, also said the seizure is evidence of the way criminal networks are attempting to exploit the coronavirus outbreak to their own ends.

“They are now covering this load of drugs with what would seem like vital protective equipment to satisfy their selfish interest,” he added.

The National Crime Agency has been tasked to investigate the matter.

Also, regulators are examining the masks to see whether or not they are safe to use.

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