Woman smuggled £22m of cocaine and crystal meth from Mexico into UK in fruit processing machine 

Border Force officers spent hours breaking into enormous fruit processing machine to find £22million of cocaine and crystal meth being smuggled from Mexico to UK

A woman has been charged with importing a shipment of £22 million of drugs into the UK from  inside an industrial fruit processing machine.

Olivia Anton-Altamirano, 32, allegedly smuggled some 250kg of cocaine and 9kg of crystal meth hidden inside the specially constructed machine, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The Spanish national was arrested at her home in Blackheath, south-east .

The drugs were said to have been trafficked into London Gateway Port in Essex on March 17 where the fruit processor was stopped by Border Force officers.

After several hours, they broke into the 3.5-tonne machinery to find the haul estimated to have a £22 million street value.

John Coles, the NCA‘s head of specialist operations, said: ‘Here we have a potentially lucrative plot by organised criminals to smuggle 259kg of Class A drugs into the UK, which would have eventually found itself being sold on the streets of London.‘

The announcement of the seizure came after security minister Ben Wallace warned the UK is ‘fast becoming the biggest consumer of cocaine in Europe‘.

And Simon Kempton, the Police Federation‘s deputy treasurer, blamed demand for the drug on middle-class users, the Guardian reported.

Anton-Altamirano, of Charlton Road, will appear at Kingston Crown Court to enter a plea on June 7.

YOUNG TECH-SAVVY INVESTIGATORS ARE BEHIND AN INCREASE IN DRUGS BUSTS

Young tech-savvy investigators are to thank for an increase in drug busts, a National Crime Agency (NCA) chief has said.

John Coles, the head of the NCA‘s specialist operations, said a joint task-force with the Metropolitan Police has had ‘fantastic results‘ over the past five months.

Among the reasons for the success, he said, are recruits in their twenties and thirties who have been able to use electronically gathered intelligence in a ‘different and better way‘. 

Recent convictions have included three men jailed for stashing 51kg of cocaine and one man imprisoned for having 25kg of heroin.

The seizures, Mr Coles claimed, will help curb violence on London‘s streets and decrease the numbers of children and vulnerable people being forced to ferry drugs into the Home Counties through violence and intimidation.

NCA statistics show that 65% of forces across England and Wales reported children being exploited to expand operations out of urban hubs, while 37% reported those with mental health issues are being used.  

His comments come as security minister Ben Wallace warned the UK is ‘fast becoming the biggest consumer of cocaine in Europe‘. 

Police Federation deputy treasurer Simon Kempton blamed demand for the Class A drug on ‘middle-class users.‘

 

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