National Crime Agency
Man jailed for cocaine fruit and veg conspiracy
A man who tried to use a fake fruit and veg business as a cover for drug trafficking has been jailed for trying to smuggle cocaine worth over a million pounds into the UK
On 8 July at Canterbury Crown Court, Narcis-Bogdan Stoica, 29, from Neamt County, Romania, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to import 15 kilos of Class A drugs – which had a potential street value of an estimated £1.2 million.
The National Crime Agency began investigating Stoica after Border Force officials stopped him passing through the Channel Tunnel terminal at Coquelles on 17 April. A search of the van he was driving revealed two purpose built concealments for the drugs behind the door step cover material on both the passenger and drivers side.
Stoica told officers, who found pallets of fruit and vegetables in the back of the van, that he was starting his own delivery business.
He had purchased the refrigerated vehicle in the UK a week before being stopped, and was on his way back from the Netherlands.
Stoica remained in custody, having entered a guilty plea on 15 June at an earlier hearing.
NCA Dover Branch Commander Martin Grace said: “This individual thought he could hide his criminal activity under the guise of a legitimate business.
“If undetected, this cocaine would have undoubtedly been distributed in the UK, where the class A drug trade fuels violence and exploitation.
“At the NCA we know that people like Stoica, who are willing to take risks, are crucial to the activities of serious organised crime groups. By working with partners like Border Force, we’re able to stop their activities and disrupt the networks they work for.”
Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts Chris Philp said: “Excellent work by Border Force and the NCA has ensured that more than £1m of cocaine has been kept off the UK’s streets and brought a smuggler to justice.
“Illegal drugs fuel crime, violence and exploitation which is why our work to prevent them reaching our communities is so vital.”
Latest News from
National Crime Agency
Two face prosecution following NCA investigation into NAMA property deal06/08/2020 16:15:00
Two men are to be prosecuted over alleged fraud offences as part of the NCA investigation into the sale of the National Asset Management Agency’s Northern Ireland property loan book.
Driver jailed for lorry cocaine stash05/08/2020 11:15:00
A man who tried to smuggle cocaine worth almost a million pounds into the UK has been jailed for six years and nine months.
Three charged in international drug investigation linked to Encrochat03/08/2020 11:10:00
Three men have been charged in the UK and Netherlands, and over 50 kilos of class A drugs have been seized following a joint operation involving the National Crime Agency and Dutch law enforcement.
Driver arrested as part of Scottish drug supply investigation03/08/2020 09:05:00
A lorry driver from Scotland has been arrested following the seizure of around 150 kilos of cannabis at the UK-France border
Five arrested by NCA officers over Rotherham abuse allegations31/07/2020 14:15:00
Five men have been arrested in connection with allegations of abuse relating to four girls in Rotherham.
Teaching assistant bought online child abuse with Amazon vouchers30/07/2020 15:43:00
A teaching assistant bought an online catalogue of child sexual abuse using £365 of Amazon vouchers.
Two jailed for West London cocaine handover30/07/2020 11:15:00
Two men have been jailed after being caught in a £700,000 drugs handover while under investigation by the joint NCA and Metropolitan Police Service Organised Crime Partnership (OCP).
Operation Venetic: Liverpool man charged in connection with acid attack and shots fired in Merseyside27/07/2020 16:15:00
A man from Liverpool, arrested as part of National Crime Agency-led Operation Venetic, has been charged with a possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and three counts of conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm.
Two convicted in France as part of cross-Channel people smuggling investigation27/07/2020 12:43:00
Two people, one of whom is British, have been convicted and jailed in France as a result of close working between the UK-French authorities in people smuggling investigation involving the National Crime Agency.