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Friday 19 September 2014

Cocaine worth €31.4m found hidden in banana shipment

Scott D'Arcy

Published 11/07/2014 | 17:56

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Undated handout photo issued by Metropolitan Police of cocaine with an estimated street value of £25 million hidden in plastic fruit that was found by police officers among a shipment of bananas from Colombia.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday July 11, 2014. Officers from the Met's Special Projects Team tracked a lorry carrying the consignment of bananas from when it arrived in Dover at 6am yesterday, to a unit at the Oast Park Trading Estate in Hartlip, Kent at 9am. They also watched as a 48-year-old man unloaded it into a warehouse. See PA story POLICE Cocaine. Photo credit should read: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Cocaine with an estimated street value of £25m hidden in plastic fruit that was found by police officers among a shipment of bananas from Colombia

Police officers have found cocaine with an estimated street value of £25m (€31.4m) hidden in plastic fruit among a shipment of bananas from Colombia.

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Officers from the Met's Special Projects Team tracked a lorry carrying the consignment of bananas from when it arrived in Dover at 6am yesterday, to a unit at the Oast Park Trading Estate in Hartlip, Kent at 9am. They also watched as a 48-year-old man unloaded it into a warehouse.

The warehouse was kept under surveillance while another team monitored three other men, who later met in an internet cafe in Stockwell, London, and are believed to have accessed instructions relating to the shipment, the force said.

The three Colombian men, 36, 39 and 46, were arrested as they left the cafe at 7.30pm last night.

Officers in Kent raided the warehouse at 10.30pm and found 150kg of the class A drug compressed into plastic bananas and hidden among the real fruit.

The man who unloaded the shipment, who is from Kent, was also arrested but the lorry driver has been ruled out of the conspiracy.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "The recovered drugs have a wholesale value of around £7 million, with a street value in excess of £25 million.

"All four men remain in custody at a London police station."

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