Ten people have been arrested in North London in relation to the seizure of approximately 2.3 tonnes of cocaine imported to the U.K. in a consignment of bananas.
The seizure – believed to be one of the largest ever in the U.K. – was part of an investigation led by the joint National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service’s Organised Crime Partnership (OCP).
Those arrested, all men aged 21-56, were detained by OCP officers on February 18 at two addresses in North London after taking delivery of 41 pallets into which the cocaine had been loaded.
The drugs – potentially worth £184 million had it been sold on U.K. streets – had already been removed by Border Force officers at Portsmouth International Port on February 14. The container had arrived on a cargo ship from Colombia the day before, and was masquerading as a legitimate consignment of bananas.
The pallets were delivered to an industrial estate in Tottenham, North London, where OCP officers – supported by armed units from the NCA and the MPS – moved in to arrest the five recipients. The other five men were arrested at a different industrial estate in Enfield. All ten remain in custody and three have since been charged with the importation of class A drugs.