A pair of suspected drug smugglers have been charged after they attempted to smuggle £10 million worth of cocaine into the UK hidden in a van full of frozen fish.
Police seized 97 packages each containing around a kilo of cocaine from the back of a van at Newhaven port in East Sussex last November.
Jean-Pierre Labelle, 43, was arrested in March this year over the early morning drugs bust and charged on Sunday last week with importing class A drugs.
The van’s driver James Satterley, 50, from Cookham, Berkshire, was also later charged with the same offence and is now awaiting trial.
Labelle, from Ryde on the Isle of Wight, appeared at Newport Magistrates’ Court on the island last month and was remanded into custody until his next appearance at Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex on 27 July.
Peter Stevens, branch commander of the National Crime Agency, said: “Working with partners like Border Force we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks involved in attempts to circumvent border controls.
“Illegal drugs are linked to violence on our streets and the exploitation of the vulnerable, that is why this type of crime is a priority for us.”
Tim Kingsberry, regional director at Border Force, praised the seizure for disrupting international drugs smuggling.
He said: “This was an excellent seizure by Border Force officers, who have prevented a large amount of lethal class A drugs from reaching the UK’s streets.
“Alongside our law enforcement partners, we will continue to do all we can to disrupt the international trade in drug smuggling.”