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Monster cocaine haul worth £76m uncovered in banana boxes on UK ship

Almost a tonne of cocaine with a street value of £76 million has been discovered in a shipment of bananas at Southampton.

The class A drugs were discovered by border officers within a shipping container onboard a ship during a routine inspection.

The cocaine, which weighed a total of 946kg, was suspected to have been placed in the cargo in Colombia and was originally bound for Antwerp in Belgium.

"This was drug smuggling on an industrial scale so I'm delighted that Border Force officers have prevented such a large quantity of dangerous goods from reaching our streets," Home Secretary Priti Patel said.

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"Drugs devastate communities, line the pockets of serious criminals, and are a serious driver of the violence which ruin young lives right across the country.

"We are sending a strong signal to criminals in the UK and abroad seeking to smuggle drugs into or through the UK – your efforts will fail and we will use every part of our law enforcement powers to stop drugs from coming into the UK."

Border Force officers discovered the drugs after identifying "anomalies" with the cargo in the container.

Tim Kingsberry, regional director for Border Force South, said: "This significant seizure has removed a large amount of dangerous drugs from the streets, which not only reduces the significant harm they cause to communities but also makes a huge dent in the profits of smugglers."

Bizarrely, it's the second cocaine banana incident this week after Canadian police found a botched drug trafficking scheme had resulted in 21kg of the drug being accidentally delivered to grocery stores.

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Employees at the store in Kelowna discovered 12 packages of cocaine stashed under a banana shipment in February 2019, and a second hop contacted police the same day to say they'd received the same item.

Police seized the two shipments of cocaine and launched an investigation which concluded this week, with authorities believing the cocaine had been mistakenly shipped from Colombia.

"Our investigation leads us to believe these illicit drugs were not meant to end up in the Central Okanagan, and arrived here in the Okanagan Valley as a result of a missed pickup at some point along the way," said Jeff Carroll, an officer with the Kelowna Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Traffickers often conceal illegal drugs inside shipments of legitimate products in an attempt to evade detection.

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