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Dutch national faces decade behind bars for cocaine smuggle attempt

A 41-year-old man who was caught with a car boot full of cocaine at an Essex port has been jailed for 10-and-a-half years following a National Crime Agency investigation.

WARNARS Custody ImageRolf Warnars’ Renault Scenic was stopped by Border Force officers at Harwich International Port having travelled by ferry from Hook of Holland, Netherlands.

In the boot of his car was a heavy suitcase that Warnars claimed was packed with clothes for his trip to the UK.

Upon searching the suitcase, officers discovered 42 kilograms of cocaine with an approximate street value of £3.2million.

The drugs were individually wrapped by the kilogram and each package was tagged with a ‘DIOR’ label.

Warnars was arrested for the cocaine importation attempt and the NCA launched an investigation into his criminal activity.

Investigators analysed data held on his mobile phone and discovered he had made four other trips to the UK from June 2023 to when he was arrested at Harwich Port in November 2023.

On each occasion he would arrive into the UK from the Netherlands, stay overnight in a hotel, and return the following day.

Evidence of Warnars’ use of exchange ‘tokens’ was also uncovered on his phone.

Tokens are commonly used in criminal exchanges as a method of verifying the correct recipient of drugs or illicit cash. They often take the form of a bank note serial number and are sent as proof of receipt.

Warnars appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on 22 April to be sentenced having pleaded guilty to importing class A drugs at an earlier court hearing.

He was sentenced to 10 years and six months imprisonment.

Paul Orchard, NCA Operations Manager, yesterday said:

“Cocaine supply fuels violence in communities across the UK, with direct links to knife crime and the exploitation of children and vulnerable adults.

“Our investigation evidenced that this wasn’t a one-off for Warnars, as he made several trips in the months before his arrest. The sentence handed down to him should serve as a stark warning to drug suppliers – you will be caught and put before the courts.

“Working closely with our Border Force colleagues and international law enforcement partners, we are committed to dismantling the organised crime groups responsible for importing class A drugs.”

Jenny Sharp, Assistant Director Border Force Central Region, yesterday said:

"Every drug trafficker caught protects our communities from the destructive influence of illegal drugs.

“Our dedicated Border Force officers are at the forefront of this battle, working tirelessly to prevent these substances from ever reaching our streets.

“This case is another strong example of our unwavering commitment to keeping our borders secure."

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