British police have made a record confiscation of 1.3 tons of heroin aboard a cargo ship in the port of Felixstowe, in the east of England, they announced on Wednesday in a statement.
According to the UK’s National Crime Agency, NCA, the value of the seized drug was around 27 million pounds (29.8 million euros) for the traffickers and worth more than 120 million pounds at street level.
The ship, searched by the border police and the NCA, arrived at the British port on August 30. On board, the agents found 1,297 kg of heroin hidden in a shipment of towels and bathrobes. The ship then continued its route to the Netherlands, where four people were arrested while waiting to unload the container.
It is a “record seizure in the United Kingdom and one of the most important ever conducted in Europe,” said Matt Horne, deputy director of investigations at the NCA.
“This is a record heroin seizure in the UK and one of the largest ever in Europe. It will have denied organised crime tens of millions of pounds in profits, and is the result of a targeted, intelligence-led investigation, carried out by the NCA with international and UK partners.
“The smugglers had hidden the drugs within a coverload of towels, stitching the 1kg blocks of heroin inside some of the towels. In total it took my officers nearly six hours – working in the early hours of Saturday morning – to remove the drugs” added Jenny Sharp, deputy director of the Border Force in Felixstowe.
For Horne, “The size of this and other recent shipments demonstrate the scale of the threat we face.”
The latest seizure comes after officers discovered 398kg of heroin on a vessel at Felixstowe port on 2 August.