News story

Lorry driver jailed for £3.8M cocaine smuggling attempt

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

A lorry driver has been jailed for 12 years after attempting to smuggle 30 kilos of cocaine into the UK.

Seizure

Border Force officers stopped an Italian-registered lorry at the freight controls in the Eastern Docks, Dover on 16 January 2015. They questioned the driver, Artur DODA, and searched the vehicle and its load of flowers from the Netherlands.

In a purpose built concealment under the cab floor officers found 29 packages wrapped in brown tape. The packages all contained white powder which tested positive to a field test for cocaine.

Forensic tests later showed the cocaine to have an exceptionally high purity which gave the drugs an estimated potential street value of £3.8 million.

Doda, an Italian national born in Albania, was arrested and the case was passed to the National Crime Agency. He was later charged with the attempted drugs importation.

He pleaded guilty at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court on 2 February and was sentenced there on Friday,13 March 2015.

Paul Morgan, Director of Border Force South East and Europe said:

This was an excellent seizure and I would like to pay tribute to the Border Force officers who play a crucial role in protecting the UK from illegal drugs every day.

We work closely with law enforcement colleagues, including the NCA, to prevent drug trafficking and do all we can to put those responsible behind bars.

Border Force officers use high-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.

They use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners - as well as visual searches - to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to drug smuggling should call the hotline on 0800 59 5000.

Published 25 March 2015