Three Caught Importing Drug Cutting Agent

Three men have been jailed for importing drug cutting agents which could have made an estimated £10 million on the streets if mixed with heroin or amphetamine.

The trio, all from South Wales, were arrested after hundreds of kilos of the powder was found in bags in the back of a van at the Port of Dover in June last year.

The driver of the van told Border Force offiicers he had been to the Netherlands to buy and engine and claimed the bags found in the back if his vehicle contained fertiliser.

But Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called in to test the substance and found it to be 286kg (630lb) of paracetamol mixed with caffeine.

Two weeks later officers another two men in a hired van who said they had been to Calais to collect fertiliser and 13 clear plastic bags in their vehicle, which appeared to have been opened and resealed. They were marked as "sand for children's sandpits'' but were found to be a mixture of paracetamol and caffeine.

Investigations by Border Force linked the two attempted importations and all three men were charged with assisting in the supply of a controlled drug of Class A or B.

They pleaded guilty to the offence at Folkestone Magistrates' Court earlier this year and have been jailed for three years, eight months each.

Malcolm Bragg, from Border Force, said: "These seizures were highly unusual and involved significant amounts of a cutting agent which, when mixed with drugs, would have gained considerable sums of criminal money for those involved.

"Along with our law enforcement colleagues in the UK and around the world, we are determined to do all we can to stop drugs reaching our streets and harming our communities.''