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Wanted: NCA appeal to trace suspect over drug smuggling attempt

Investigators from the National Crime Agency are appealing for information to trace a man they want to speak to in connection with a number of large-scale  drug importations.

Indian national Balwinder Rai, 28, previously lived at an address in Hamilton Road, Hayes, London, and is thought to still be in the area.

The appeal follows the seizure of around 120 kilos of cannabis found in a lorry by Border Force officers carrying out checks on freight at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Coquelles, northern France in February 2015.

The drugs were concealed within a pallet being shipped from Spain to a freight agent in Staines. Subsequent checks showed that a number of other consignments had made the same journey.

Steve McIntyre, from the National Crime Agency’s investigation team in Dover, said yesterday:

“We suspect that the organised crime group responsible for this smuggling attempt may have been behind several other significant importations, potentially involving around a tonne of illegal drugs shipped in to the UK in just a few months.

“Balwinder Rai has extensive links in the Hayes area of west London, where we know he lived and operated a ‘man-with-a-van’ type business. He also spent some time in the Hollywood area of south Birmingham.

“It is important that we speak to him as soon as possible, so I would urge him to come forward.

“Today we are also releasing pictures of him. I would also ask that if anyone in the Hayes area or wider community has seen him or knows anything that might help us trace him, they do the right thing and let us or Crimestoppers know anonymously.”

Anyone with information can call the National Crime Agency on 0370 496 7622 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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