Lorry driver jailed for trying to smuggle cocaine worth £2.1m into UK

·2 min read

A lorry driver who tried to smuggle cocaine worth £2.1 million into the UK hidden in his truck has been jailed.

Rafal Czajka, 39, was investigated after his lorry was stopped at the port of Dover on November 16 2021.

Border Force officers searching the vehicle found that a hide had been built into the bulkhead of the trailer, covered by a wooden board and held together by rivets, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

Cocaine
(NCA/PA)

After removing the board they found six metal box sections going across the width of the bulkhead, containing 45 kilos of cocaine in brown taped packages.

NCA forensic experts believe the drugs would be worth an estimated £2.1 million if cut and sold at street level.

A rivet gun was found between the passenger and driver’s seat, and officers also recovered used and unused pop rivets in the pocket of the driver’s door.

Investigations found the lorry also contained a legitimate load of ventilation blower parts, which were loaded in the Netherlands and destined for Basingstoke, Hampshire.

Polish national Czajka was jailed for nine years at Canterbury Crown Court on Thursday, after pleading guilty to the importation of controlled drugs.

Cocaine
(NCA/PA)

Darren Nicholls, operations manager for the NCA said: “Smugglers like Czajka risk their freedom by aiding organised crime groups who only care about profits.

“The substantial quantity of cocaine seized would have fuelled violence and exploitation in the UK.

“We are committed to tackling class A drug trafficking and, working with key partners, like Border Force, we will continue to protect our borders and communities.”

Martin Coates, deputy director of Border Force South East and Europe, said: “These drug smuggling gangs are violent, exploitative and think nothing of the communities they tear apart across the country.

“This seizure and others like it send a clear message to anyone considering attempting to smuggle illegal drugs into the country that we remain committed and prepared to tackle drug supply chains.”

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