Two charged over £3m cocaine haul found hidden in lorry

At least 36kg of narcotic netted by crime agency investigators and border force officers

The arrest came days after the crime agency warned that criminals including drug traffickers were continuing their activities despite the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: National Crime Agency

The arrest came days after the crime agency warned that criminals including drug traffickers were continuing their activities despite the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: National Crime Agency

 

Two men have been charged with conspiracy to import Class A drugs after cocaine worth £3 million was discovered in a purpose-built hide in a lorry that had come by ferry from France to Dover.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said lorry driver Gary Sloan (50) from Magheralin in Northern Ireland, and Jason Bunce (57) from Kingswood in Kent, were appearing at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.

A 40-year-old man from Dover, who was detained at a haulage yard in the town, has been released under investigation.

At least 36kg of cocaine was recovered by crime agency investigators and border force officers in the operation on Thursday night.

Mr Sloan was arrested after the discovery and Mr Bunce was detained after being stopped near Dover, said the crime agency.

Officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland and crime agency also carried out searches of properties in Co Derry and Co Armagh.

“This was a significant seizure of class A drugs which would have generated a large amount of profit for criminals involved in drug supply. Crime groups involved in drugs supply are also involved in violence and exploitation, so cutting off their profits reduces the harm they can cause for our communities,” said Gerry McLean, NCA regional head of investigations.

“Working with partners like border force and the PSNI we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle gangs involved in drug trafficking,” he added.

The arrest came days after the crime agency warned that criminals including drug traffickers were continuing their activities despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week officers found cocaine worth more than £1 million hidden in a consignment of protective face masks in a Polish-registered van en route to the UK through the Channel Tunnel. –PA