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Three arrested over helicopter drug smuggling attempt

Three people have been arrested in connection with an alleged plot to smuggle millions of pounds worth of cocaine and heroin into the UK by helicopter.

The arrests follow a joint operation involving the National Crime Agency and  Metropolitan Police Service which saw MPS officers seize around 40 kilos of cocaine and 60 kilos of heroin from a car on the M26 in Kent on Thursday 21 April. A 38-year-old man from the North Kensington area of London was arrested.

A short time later NCA officers moved in to arrest two Dutch nationals aged 26 and 27 at Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey.

The pair had flown in to Redhill in a helicopter from Belgium earlier in the day.

All three are now being questioned by investigators. Items seized during the operation are being examined. The helicopter has also been impounded.

Gary Fennelly, head of NCA’s Gatwick border investigation team, said:

“This international operation has successfully prevented a large quantity of class A drugs making it onto the streets of the UK. If cut and sold it is likely this haul would have had a potential street value in excess of £10 million.

“Working with partners like the MPS we are determined to do all we can to disrupt the organised crime networks involved in drug trafficking.”

Two Dutchmen - Niels Wartenbergh, aged 27, and Ricardo Vorstenbosch, aged 26 - and Joe Peel, aged 38, from London, were charged with conspiracy to import class A drugs. All three appeared at Guildford Magistrates Court recently and were remanded in custody. They will be appearing at Guildford Crown Court on 19 May.


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