Authorities in the U.K. have seized a record 1.3 tonnes of heroin from a container loaded on a Maersk-operated ship after it docked in Felixstowe.
The U.K. National Crime Agency reports that the seizure was the result of an international investigation that uncovered the drug shipment on board the Antwerp-bound containership Maersk Gibraltar.
Authorities raided the ship when it docked in Felixstowe on August 30. On board they found a total of 1,297kg of the substance concealed inside a container among a load of towels and bathrobes.
The NCA reported that the record haul would be worth around £27 million wholesale, and in excess of £120 million in street value.
After removing the drugs, authorities returned the container to the vessel, which continued on to Antwerp where it docked on September 1. Once unloaded, the container was driven by lorry to a warehouse in Rotterdam under surveillance by Dutch and Belgian law enforcement agencies. Upon arrival, officers moved in and arrested four people who were in the process of unloading the consignment.
Not only is the amount the largest ever seizure of heroin in the UK, but it’s also one of the largest ever in Europe.
“This is a record heroin seizure in the UK and one of the largest ever in Europe,” said NCA Deputy Director of Investigations, Matt Horne. ”It will have denied organised crime tens of millions of pounds in profits, and is the result of a targeted, intelligence-led investigation, carried out by the NCA with international and UK partners.
The 1.3 tonne haul follows the seizure of 398 kilograms of heroin from a vessel at Felixstowe port on August 2.