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Tonnes Of Cocaine Worth £302 Million Seized By Border Force

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Tonnes Of Cocaine Worth £302 Million Seized By Border Force

Tonnes of cocaine with a street value of around £3.2 million ($4.2 million) have been seized by the UK Border Force.

More than 3.7 tonnes of cocaine hydrochloride hidden within a container of 20 banana pallets were intercepted at Southampton Docks.

The pallets were inspected by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Border Force officials, with five pallets containing wrapped packages of white powder, which tested positive for the presence of cocaine hydrochloride - which is used to make crack cocaine.

The container had recently arrived from Colombia before the bust, which took place on 17 March.

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It was the biggest cocaine seizure since 2015. Credit: Home Office
It was the biggest cocaine seizure since 2015. Credit: Home Office

Home secretary Priti Patel hailed the huge seizure, saying: "This is the largest seizure of cocaine in the UK since 2015. It should serve as a warning to anyone trying to smuggle illegal drugs into the country that we are out to get them.

"A key focus of our Beating Crime Plan is disrupting the supply chain and relentless pursuit of the criminals peddling these narcotics, making the drugs market a low-reward high risk enterprise.

"The police and Border Force have my 100 percent backing to use all available powers to stop devastating drugs from coming into our neighbourhoods and destroying lives."

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But of course, not everyone agrees that aggressively criminalising drugs is the best means of mitigating the harm they can cause.

Ray Lakeman lost both of his sons to an MDMA overdose in 2014, and since then he has campaigned for drugs to be legalised.

Tonnes of the drugs were unearthed. Credit: Home Office
Tonnes of the drugs were unearthed. Credit: Home Office

Speaking to LADbible last year, he said: "My boys died six years ago, and since then, 25,000 people have died from Class A drugs in the UK, over 4,000 a year. It's more than people die on the road."

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Referencing a previous large cocaine bust celebrated by Patel, he continued: "She's crowing, 'We've seized this, it will slow everything down.' That's not the story. The story is that there is a demand for cocaine, there is a demand for these drugs and freezing it is not going to stop it.

"It's a product, people actually want it, and unless governments understand that, you can never stop it. If people want it, they'll find a way to get it, and people will find a way of providing it."

Drugs liberalisation group Transform published a book outlining how the government could sell drugs like cocaine and ecstasy in pharmacies, where they could be purchased over the counter with limits, warnings, specially trained chemists, and bans on advertising and branding.

Not everyone sees the huge seizures as a symbol of success. Credit: Alamy
Not everyone sees the huge seizures as a symbol of success. Credit: Alamy
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While there would undoubtedly be challenges posed by the legalisation of drugs, the likes of Ray argue that the current policy of criminalisation and deterrence clearly isn't working - as evidenced by continued deaths and drugs seizures.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse told LADbible the government has 'no plans' to legalise drugs.

Speaking to LADbible last year, he said: "Illegal drugs can devastate communities and destroy lives, and the government has no plans to legalise them - we must prevent drug misuse in our communities and support people through treatment and recovery.

"We have recently announced a £148 million ($194 million) package aimed at dismantling the organised criminal gangs who encourage this terrible trade, helping those in drug treatment and recovery therapy to stop drug-related crime, and dealing with the significant health-related harms drugs pose."

Featured Image Credit: Home Office

Topics: Drugs, UK News, Crime

Jake Massey
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