Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Daily Battle to Beat the Drug Smugglers

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Daily Battle to Beat the Drug Smugglers

Article excerpt

Byline: By Adam Jupp

Smugglers are targeting the North East to try and sneak heroin and cocaine into the country.

Yesterday, we told how a cocaine blizzard was sweeping across the North East, with prices dropping dramatically.

Today, we lift the lid on the crooks trying to bring the deadly drugs into the region.

The Chronicle spent a day undercover with HM Revenue & Customs at the Tyne Commission Quay ferry terminal, in North Shields.

Officers told of their daily battle against villains who go to great lengths to conceal their killer drugs.

And Customs revealed they have made three big cocaine seizures in the last few months, reflecting the rise in popularity of the so-called party drug.

John Kinghorn, HMRC head of detection for the North, said: "Cocaine is the social drug now and we can tell that by the vast quantities we are seizing compared with previous years.

"Locally, nationally and internationally, what we seize changes over the years.

"We have been getting cannabis for years, then there was a period when Ecstasy was popular, now it's cocaine."

Every morning, another ferry arrives at Tyne Commission Quay from Amsterdam, in Holland.

During his shift at the terminal, our reporter watched as sniffer dogs probed cars and luggage coming in.

Officers studied passengers coming through the gates, looking for tell-tale signs of smuggling.

Others searched for hidden compartments in bags and vehicles. The three large seizures were:

Around 1.25kgs of cocaine, worth pounds 62,000, concealed in a car being driven by a male UK national in August. A man has been charged and is currently on remand.

Around 30grams of cocaine that had been swallowed by Dutchman, Sidney Lopez, 24, in July. Lopez was jailed for two and a half years. It took three days for the drugs to be flushed out of his system. …

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