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Four charged after cocaine worth £25m found hidden in fake bananas at Oast Park Trading Estate in Hartlip

By Emma Grove

Four men have been remanded in custody after cocaine worth more than £25million was recovered from a batch of fake bananas at a Kent trading estate.

It comes after officers seized the 150kg haul following an intelligence-led operation by the Metropolitan Police.

The fruit arrived at Dover from Colombia at around 6am on Thursday and was delivered to a unit at the Oast Park Trading Estate in Hartlip, near Sittingbourne, later that morning.

The cocaine was found hidden in fake bananas at Hartlip

It was unloaded and locked up in a warehouse, which was kept under investigation by detectives.

Police forced entry into the Spade Lane building at 10.30pm that evening and, after searching the delivery, found the compressed cocaine packed in plastic bananas concealed within the real ones.

The recovered drugs have a wholesale value of around £7million and an estimated street value in excess of £25million.

Oast Park trading estate in Spade Lane

All four men who appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court were charged with conspiracy to import and supply Class A controlled drugs.

They are David Mais, 48, of Bingley Road Rochester; Leonel Hernandez-Gonzalez, 36 ,of Bulstrode Avenue, Hounslow; Oscar Alberto Grisales-Cuervo, 46, of Ballards Lane, London and John Lopez aka John Cabrera, 39, of Dominion Close, Hounslow.

They were remanded in custody to appear at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, July 25.

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