London - British officials have seized about £15.2m ($19.4m) worth of cocaine hidden in the floor of a refrigerated container at the London Gateway port in Essex. Border Force officers found 380 kg of the drug in a container carrying bananas from Costa Rica to Germany, after an X-ray revealed an anomaly in the insulation cavity - “This was a sophisticated concealment and one that is rarely seen in the UK,” Border Force assistant director Pete Roffey said in a statement -. “The smugglers had cut the inner floor, raised it, removed and scraped out the insulation, packed in the drugs and then welded the inner floor back in place. They had left relatively little evidence that the container had been tampered with.”
The case was referred to the UK National Crime Agency, which investigates drug trafficking. The Home Office declined to name the ship or comment on how the intelligence that led to the seizure was received.The seizure follows several recent drug busts from containers.
In May, Mexican officials found 102.5 kg of cocaine on "Svendborg Maersk" at Manzanillo. In January, authorities stopped nearly 10 kg of cocaine being loaded on "Clifford Maersk", reportedly hidden among frozen shrimp. And in September last year the NCA seized 1.3 tonnes of heroin at Felixstowe.(Source: Lloyd's List)