National Crime Agency investigators have charged a German truck driver with attempting to import class A drugs, following a huge seizure of cocaine at Dover.
The haul, which weighed almost half a tonne, was found by Border Force officers carrying out checks on vehicles entering the UK on the evening of Wednesday 18 March.
Packages containing 470 kilos of drugs had been stuffed inside tyres that were being transported from the Netherlands on the back of a lorry.
The seizure was referred to the NCA, who have launched an investigation.
The lorry driver, 56-year-old German national Kawus Rafiei from Riedbahn in Germany was questioned and later charged with the importation of a controlled substance. He will appear before Margate Magistrates today (Friday 20 March).
NCA Branch Commander Martin Grace said:
“This was a significant seizure of cocaine, the tyres were literally bulging because of the amount inside them.
“If cut and sold on the streets of the UK this load could have had a value of around of £50 million.
“Losing it represents a huge hit for the criminal network likely to be behind this attempted importation – profits which they will not be able to invest in other criminality.
“It also shows how, despite the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in with the coronavirus outbreak, the NCA, Border Force and our law enforcement partners are determined to disrupt organised crime and protect the public.
“That work goes on, and our investigation into this seizure continues.”