Cocaine with a street value of more than £3m has been seized from a horsebox at a UK port.
Border Force officers at Harwich International Port, in Essex, found over 80kg of the Class A drug in the wall of the horsebox on 26 March.
The lorry had arrived on a ferry from the Hook of Holland with two horses onboard. Both equines are now in the care of a nearby horse charity.
A scan of the horsebox revealed an anomaly in an internal wall, which was drilled to reveal a white powder that tested positive for cocaine.
“Although this was an unusual and well-hidden concealment, the vigilance and expertise of Border Force officers has foiled an attempt to smuggle a large amount of Class A drugs — with an estimated street value in excess of £3m — into the country,” said Border Force’s Phillip Holliday.
“Working with law enforcement colleagues like the National Crime Agency (NCA), we are determined to prevent drug trafficking and put those responsible behind bars.”
The NCA is leading the investigation and a 32-year-old Hungarian man and two German women, aged 42 and 50, have been arrested and bailed pending further enquiries.
“Border Force officers are the front line in protecting the country and play a key role in detecting illegal immigration, disrupting serious and organised crime and helping to prevent the threat of terrorism,” said a Border Force spokesman.
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The government organisation, which is part of the Home Office, uses sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners as well as visual searches.
They are looking to find stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco.
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling can call the Border Force hotline on 0800 59 5000.