News story

Border Force seize lollipops laced with cocaine

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Border Force officers in Ghana have helped seize cocaine worth an estimated £200,000 which had been hidden in lollipops.

The drugs, which were en route to Europe, were detected by the Ghanaian authorities working with Border Force’s Operation Westbridge team and the Serious Organised Crime Agency on Tuesday 11 September at Accra Airport.

Professionally made

The cocaine was being transported in a suitcase, and found inside professionally made and packaged lollipops. Officers cut through two layers to reveal the drugs inside.

The total weight of the seizure was four kilos, of which around half is believed to have been high-purity cocaine. It is estimated the drugs could have had a potential value of approximately £200,000 if cut and sold on the street in the UK.

A 29-year-old man, a Ghanaian national, was arrested by police in Accra suspected of being a drugs courier.

Vile business

Home Office Minister Mark Harper said: ‘Disguising a deadly drug as a harmless bag of children’s sweets shows the depths people will sink to in order to smuggle drugs.

‘The international drug trade is a vile business that Border Force officers play a key part in disrupting.’

Operation Westbridge is a Border Force counter-narcotics programme set up in 2006 to help the Ghanaian government stop cocaine smuggling by air. In 2009, this was extended to cover Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria.

Since it began Operation Westbridge officers, working alongside local law enforcement agencies, have been involved in the seizure of over 860 kilos of cocaine and 323 kilos of heroin, much of which was destined for the UK and wider European markets. In addition around 170 suspected couriers have been arrested.