Lorry driver tried to smuggle £1.25m of heroin in steel beams through Essex port

A LORRY driver attempted to smuggle ?1.25 million of drugs through an Essex port within a shipment of crisps. Polish lorry driver Dariusz Urban, 49, has been jailed for 12 years after he was caught driving the drugs into Harwich International Port on April 15. Urban was able to be traced and caught after National Crime Agency (NCA) officers used intelligence from the infiltration of an encrypted comms platform to catch him.

In February an international law enforcement partnership cracked the EncroChat network – used exclusively by criminals to communicate with each other in secret. The NCA worked through millions of pieces of information to develop cases and was able to use the intelligence to catch

Because of what the agency knew from the encrypted messages, it was able to tip off Border Force officers who were waiting for him and found 25kg of heroin concealed in Urban’s cover load of crisps. The 50 packets of drugs were hidden inside two steel vehicle ramps inside the truck. Urban, of Ostrzeszow, western Poland, was also in possession of an EncroChat phone.

A day later, an international drugs supplier shared a screen shot on EncroChat of the NCA story at the time and asked the suspected UK recipient of the drugs: “This you?” The drugs that were inside the steel ramp

The supplier has been arrested in the Netherlands by Dutch authorities. On Thursday afternoon, Urban was jailed for 12 years at Chelmsford Crown Court after admitting attempting to import Class A drugs. Operation Venetic has smashed thousands of criminal conspiracies, resulted in the arrests of hundreds of suspects, and the seizure of scores of firearms and more than two tonnes of Class A and B drugs.

NCA Deputy Director Matt Horne, who is the gold commander on Operation Venetic, said: “Darius Urban’s sentencing is another example of the impact the NCA, Border Force and UK policing are having on serious organised crime. “Like many other cases, with this operation we were able to plot how the drugs would be picked up and moved and when would be best to strike. “There is much more to come.”

Lorry driver tried to smuggle £1.25m of heroin in steel beams through Essex port NCA branch commander Mark Spoors said: “Drug traffickers don’t care at all about the hell they wreak on communities. “The seizure of this significant amount of heroin means the crime groups trading it have lost money which won’t be fed back into other drugs deals.

“Stopping drugs traffickers is a top priority – and we’ll continue working with our partners at home and abroad to do it.”

Lorry driver tried to smuggle £1.25m of heroin in steel beams through Essex port

Inside the lorry

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