Abraham Schrier, 61, stashed the class A drugs by hiding them in the side of a vehicle heading through the Channel tunnel
A Dutch van driver behind the smuggling of 200 kilos of coke and heroin with a street value of more than £12 million into the UK has been jailed for 16 years.
Abraham Schrier, 61, stashed the class A drugs by hiding them in the side of a vehicle heading through the Channel tunnel.
The operation was uncovered when a white Renault Master van registered in Belgium was stopped before boarding a train from France to the UK at the Channel Tunnel terminal on June 10 this year.
Marius Verschueren, 69, the driver of the van, told Border Force officers he was driving to Ashford, Kent, and would stay one night and then return.
But NCA officers were called in to investigate after a search found packages of heroin and cocaine concealed in the side panels of the vehicle.
In total 74 kilos of heroin and 128 kilos of cocaine was unearthed, which forensic experts believe would have had an street value in Britain of over £12 million, the NCA said.
Just half-an-hour later a second van, driven by Schrier, was stopped at the same place and he also said he was going to Ashford for one night.
No drugs were found in his vehicle, but an electric drill set, socket and bolts matching those found in the panelling on the first van were found – showing he had been involved in hiding the drugs, police said.
Schrier, from Goes in the Netherlands, initially denied this when questioned by detectives, but he was charged with importing class A drugs.
At Canterbury Crown Court last Wednesday (Dec 21), Schrier was jailed for 16 years after a jury found him guilty.
Mark Howes, NCA Dover branch commander, said after the sentencing hearing: “The evidence we were able to provide showed that Schrier was a key component in this importation.
“This was a significant seizure of class A drugs which would have ended up in the hands of the type of street gangs directly involved violence and exploitation in our communities.
“Schrier may have been one step removed from those gangs, but his part shouldn’t be diminished.
“Couriers like him are vital to the business model of the organised crime networks involved in international drug trafficking.”
“It is the NCA’s job to target and disrupt those upstream networks, and working with partners like Border Force we are determined to do all we can to stop them.”
Verschueren, from the Borgerhout area of Antwerp in Belgium, and the driver of the first van, was found not guilty by the jury.
Martin Coates, Border Force deputy director, added: “Drugs are a plague to our society, fuelling violence on the streets which communities across the UK are forced to endure.
“This seizure demonstrates the close cooperation between Border Force and the NCA, preventing harmful substances from entering our communities while reassuring the public that we will always remain committed to keeping them safe from the despicable illegal smuggling of dangerous drugs.”