Polish lorry driver jailed after £1m of heroin stashed inside delivery of crisps

A Polish lorry driver has been jailed for 12 years after GBP1.25 million of heroin was found hidden inside a delivery of crisps. Dariusz Urban, 49, was caught as he drove his lorry into Harwich International Port in Essex on April 15 this year after law enforcement hacked an encrypted communication network used by organised crime groups. The National Crime Agency (NCA) read encrypted messages and tipped off Border Force officers, who were waiting for the driver to arrive.

Officers found 25kg of heroin hidden in Urban's cover load of crisps. The 50 packets of drugs were stashed inside two steel vehicle ramps inside the truck. Urban's arrest came after a military-grade encrypted communication system, EncroChat, used by organised criminals was hacked by law enforcement.

Dariusz Urban, 49, has been jailed for 12 years
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Urban, of Ostrzeszow in western Poland, was in possession of an EncroChat phone, the NCA said.

A day after the NCA publicised the arrest, an international drugs supplier shared a screen shot on EncroChat of the story and asked the suspected UK recipient of the drugs: "This you?" The supplier has been arrested in the Netherlands by Dutch authorities. EncroChat was an encrypted platform where users could speak privately between specially-designed handsets, thought to be used exclusively for criminal purposes.

There were thought to be 60,000 EncroChat users internationally, including 10,000 in the UK, with prices at GBP1,500 for a six-month contract. Urban was one of hundreds of arrests made as part of a UK-wide probe known as Operation Venetic, which has resulted in the seizure of more than two tonnes of drugs and "scores" of guns. He admitted attempting to import Class A drugs and was jailed for 12 years at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday.

NCA deputy director Matt Horne, who is the gold commander on Operation Venetic, said: "Dariusz 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."

NCA branch commander Mark Spoors added: "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."

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