The drugs were found inside a shipment. Credit: NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY
British specialized services seized a record 1.3 tonnes of heroin on a container ship in the port of Felixstowe, in the east of England, the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK announced on Wednesday in a press release.
The drugs, hidden in a shipment of towels and bathrobes on board a vessel bound for the port of Antwerp, had a value of 27 million pounds (29.8 million euros) on the wholesale market and over 120 million pounds (132 million euros) on the retail market, the NCA said.
The border police and the NCA had been on the lookout for the ship, which arrived in the British port on 30 August. Investigators found 1,297 kilogrammes of heroin onboard, hidden away between the towels and bathrobes, the same method used for a shipment seized in Felixstowe in early August.
After the drugs were confiscated, the container was put back on to the ship, which continued on its way to Antwerp, where it landed on 1 September. The container was then taken to a warehouse in Rotterdam, where four persons were arrested as they proceeded to unload it.
This is a “record heroin seizure in the UK and one of the largest ever in Europe,” Matt Horne, the NCA’s deputy director of investigations, said. “It will have denied organised crime tens of millions of pounds” in profits, he added.
The seizure “has kept dangerous drugs off the streets of the UK and mainland Europe,” Jenny Sharp, Border Force Assistant Director at Felixstowe, commented, welcoming the cooperation between crime-fighting services in the United Kingdom and abroad.