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​1.2 tonnes of cocaine found in a banana shipment in Kent

Not one for the fruit bowl

  • Gemma Ross | Photo: NCA
  • 21 December 2021
​1.2 tonnes of cocaine found in a banana shipment in Kent

A large scale shipment of bananas to a port in Kent was found to include 1.2 tonnes of cocaine on Monday, December 21.

Local authorities have arrested six suspects allegedly involved in the shipment, which landed on Sheerness dockyard in North Kent.

All 1200 kilograms were recovered - that’s a whopping £90 million worth of the class A drug - one of the largest drug shipments seen in recent years.

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Over 100 officials from the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Kent Police department targeted the port in the early hours of Monday leading to the arrests of six men, one of which being the port’s security guard.

The operation was planned after a months-long investigation by the NCA into a potential drug shipment. The group were suspected of working alongside the security guard at Sheerness port, who plotted the escapade.

According to a press release by the NCA, a seventh person thought to be working with the group was arrested at home in Hertfordshire today, December 21. All suspects appeared in Medway Magistrates Court earlier today.

While it’s unclear where exactly the shipment came from, police suspect that the boat - which included the stashed class A drugs - might have arrived from Costa Rica via Panama.

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"Our investigation has focused on what we believe to be a dangerous group intent on importing large amounts of drugs to the UK, using insider contacts within the port,” said NCA Regional Head of Investigations, Jacque Beer.

He added, “We know that criminal gangs target insiders within ports and airport for their knowledge and access. While it is rare, when it happens it represents a disproportionately large threat, which is why it is such a focus for the NCA.”

Minister for Security and Borders Damian Hinds said on the case: “This seizure has prevented a significant amount of dangerous drugs from ending up on our streets.”

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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