Police investigating the large-scale importation of drugs for sale in London and the Home Counties have arrested eight people and seized 200kg of cocaine worth an estimated £70million.
Detectives from the Met’s Special Intelligence Section (SIS), working jointly with Essex Police officers, intercepted two cars near Tilbury Docks at approximately 02:00hrs on Tuesday, 21 July.
They stopped a white minicab on the A1089 and carried out a search, discovering numerous blocks of high-purity cocaine, totalling 200kg, stashed in holdalls in the boot.
The driver, a 29-year-old man from Essex [A], was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to import drugs and conspiracy to supply controlled drugs. There were no passengers.
The second vehicle, a white Ford van, was stopped nearby. The driver, a 45-year-old man of no fixed abode [B] and a 24-year-old man from Essex [C] were both arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to import drugs and conspiracy to supply controlled drugs.
Meanwhile, detectives from the SIS, working with officers from Essex, identified three more suspects and arrested them in undergrowth nearby. The trio [D/E/F], aged 47, 31 and 40 – all men from Essex – were all arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to import drugs and conspiracy to supply controlled drugs.
At approximately 12:00hrs officers executed two search warrants at two residential addresses in Essex and made two further arrests. They arrested a 30-year-old woman from Essex [G] on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a Class A drug and an 18-year-old man from Essex [H] on suspicion of concealing property and possession with intent to supply a Class A drug.
All eight are currently in custody at an east London police station.
Detective Inspector Andy Whitewood of the SIS, part of the Met’s Organised Crime Command, said: “We’ve seized a massive amount of cocaine which we believe would have made organised criminals in excess of £70 million had it reached the street-level sellers that it was intended for.
“The vast majority of these drugs would have been destined for the streets of London, where drug sales line the pockets of criminals and blight the communities in which they are sold. I can only estimate the substantial amount of acquisitive crime that would have been committed to fund the purchase of these drugs.
“Drug supply on our streets brings fear to our communities and the Met is determined to prevent it at every possible opportunity.”