Published: 12:01, 23 June 2021
| Updated: 15:01, 23 June 2021
A lorry driver is now behind bars has been jailed for six years and nine months after attempting to smuggle six kilos of cocaine into the UK hidden in a fridge.
The National Crime Agency began investigating Cengiz Karaman, 32, from Tavsanli, Turkey, when he was stopped at the Eastern Docks in Dover on the evening of February 21 this year.
Border Force officers recovered six packages of cocaine from a fridge under the driver’s bunk bed in the cab section of the German-registered lorry he was driving.
NCA forensic experts estimate the drugs would have been worth around £240,000 if cut and sold on the streets of the UK.
In interviews with NCA investigators Karaman admitted he had picked the packages up from a man in a layby in Belgium. He was to be paid around £2,000 for the run.
Karaman pleaded guilty to importing Class A drugs at a hearing on March 29 and was sentenced to six years and nine months yesterday (Tuesday) at Canterbury Crown Court.
NCA Dover Branch Commander Martin Grace said: “This is an all too familiar story, with crime groups responsible for drug trafficking using professional couriers like Karaman to ship lethal drugs between countries.
“I hope this acts as a cautionary tale for others who might consider doing the same. Karaman went into this criminal enterprise to make money, instead he’s received a lengthy jail term.
“This cargo of cocaine would have caused serious harm had it reached UK streets. The work we do with Border Force helps disrupt organised crime groups, and prevent the violence and exploitation they cause.”