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17 November 2010, 11:12 | Updated: 17 November 2010, 11:16
Heroin worth more than £5 million has been seized by the UK Border Agency at the Port of Felixstowe - the biggest detection of the Class A drug in the UK this year.
The estimated 80kg of heroin had been shipped to the UK from Asia in a single container listed as chilli powder.
Attention was drawn to the shipment by a discrepancy in the paperwork and the container was selected for further examination.
When officers opened the doors they found six hundred 20 kg sacks of red chilli powder. Initial examination identified an inconsistency in the weight of one of the sacks. Inside the sack officers found twelve 1kg packages of a fawn coloured powder hidden among the chilli. Tests revealed the powder was heroin.
Six other sacks in the final row of the container were also found to have heroin hidden inside.
Brodie Clark, Head of Border Force for the UK Border Agency, said:
"This is a major seizure that reflects the robust controls we have in place at the UK border. Heroin is a dangerous Class A drug that wrecks the lives not only of individual users, but also their families and the wider community.
The UK Border Agency is responsible for immigration and customs controls at the border. We will continue to fight the threat that drug smuggling poses to the UK."
The shipment arrived at Felixstowe on Tuesday last week. On Friday, five men were arrested by officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency at Waymills Industrial Estate in Whitchurch, Shropshire.
Two men were subsequently charged with importation of Class A drugs and appeared at Telford Magistrates’ Court on Monday. Father and son 50-year-old Gulab Mohammed and 28-year-old Khalid Mohammed from Hugh Road in Birmingham were remanded in custody to reappear at the same court on 23rd of November.
The three other men, all from Birmingham, have been bailed until 10 January. None of them have been charged.