Two men have been charged with importing class A drugs hidden in wooden statues following a seizure at Gatwick Airport.
Ted Dexter Frederick, 46, and Darius Atiba Williams, 33, were arrested after a National Crime Agency (NCA) raid in Edmonton, north London on Monday, according to the NCA.
The operation was supported by Border Force.
The arrests followed the seizure at Gatwick Airport on Friday, December 16 of four statues which had been shipped from Trinidad, an NCA spokesperson said.
The items were x-rayed by Border Force officers, revealing an estimated 20kg of cocaine hidden inside.
The load would have had a wholesale value to organised crime of around £650,000, but if cut and sold on the street it is likely to have had a street value in excess of £3 million, the spokesperson added.
Frederick and Williams were due to appear before Croydon Magistrates’ Court this morning.
Steve McIntyre, from NCA Border Investigations, said: “This was a well-planned attempt to bring drugs potentially worth millions into the UK.
“Those drugs, if they had ended up in the hands of dealers, would have fuelled further criminality.
“The wider security of the UK relies upon secure borders. This is an excellent example of how law enforcement identifies attempts to get through border controls, and disrupts organised criminals’ capacity to conceal illicit goods.”
Sue Young, Border Force South director, said: “It is the job of Border Force to stay one step ahead of the smugglers who would look to bring dangerous drugs like this into the UK.
“Detections such as this are testament to Border Force officers’ expertise.”
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