Multiple Arrests After Drug Traffickers Try To Ship 125kg Cocaine To Australia In Diesel Generator

Three British men have been arrested following an investigation into an organised gang that specialises in manufacturing industrial machinery capable of hiding drugs for transport.

Police in the UK & Australia have carried out raids following the seizure of 125kg of cocaine
Police in the UK & Australia have carried out raids following the seizure of 125kg of cocaine

The arrests come after a number of raids carried out across southeast England on Tuesday morning as part of an operation linked to 125kg of cocaine that was intercepted on its way to Sydney, Australia. Authorities found the huge drug haul hidden inside a specially constructed, concealed compartment built into a diesel generator that was being sent via airfreight to Australia.

The three British men arrested include a 42-year-old in Romford, Essex, a 43-year-old in Much Hadham, Hertfordshire, and a 29-year-old in Wickford, Essex.

All three are being questioned by officers from the National Crime Agency while being held on suspicion of conspiracy to export a controlled drug.

Drug officers raided industrial buildings in Rayleigh, South Ockenden, and Feltham.

At the address in South Ockenden, they found another generator with a purpose-built secret compartment, cannabis plants, high-value jewellery, and a number of stolen vehicles.

Lydia Bloomfield, branch commander for the NCA, said: "Our investigation has targeted a network we suspect was providing a rare and highly sophisticated service to other organised crime groups. "A shipment of this quantity of cocaine from the UK to Australia is unusual but demonstrates the global scale of the class A drugs trade - which causes violence and intimidation throughout its supply chain.

"This operation has been planned and carried out alongside our partners including Border Force and New South Wales Police. We work closely with partners around the world to combat the highest risk organised crime threats."

125kg of cocaine seized by Australian police
125kg of cocaine seized by Australian police

Australian police in New South Wales carried out raids in Cawdor at the same time as the raids in the UK.

During the raid three men attempted to flee the scene in two vehicles - a Mercedes van and a Pantech truck, Australian police said.

New South Wales Police said: "It's alleged the driver of the truck rammed several police cars before both vehicles were stopped following a short pursuit."

The three men in Australia have all been refused bail and charged with various offences, including conspiracy to import cocaine. They are expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow from Australia's organised crime group, said: "This was clearly a highly coordinated syndicate who have gone to extreme efforts both here and in Europe to ensure their shipment of drugs arrived uninhibited.

"Our intelligence sharing capabilities both here and overseas has resulted in the complete devastation of this criminal enterprise - and the prospect of a lengthy prison term for each of those involved."

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