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Faversham: Rudi Sels appears in court after cocaine barrels were dropped from a plane

By Joe Wright

A Belgian pilot has appeared in court charged with dropping barrels packed with millions of pounds worth of cocaine into the Kent countryside.

Rudi Sels, 65, was arrested by officers in his home country after a European Arrest Warrant was requested by the National Crime Agency.

He is accused of smuggling the drugs, which had a potential street value of £2.5m, to the UK and dropping them for a light aircraft over Faversham in June 2016.

The barrels which were packed with drugs
The barrels which were packed with drugs

Following his arrest, Mr Sels, from Balen near Antwerp, was extradited from Belgium before appearing at Crawley Magistrates today charged with conspiracy to import Class A drugs.

He was remanded in custody until his next appearance at the Old Bailey in London on Tuesday, November 28.

Three men had previously been jailed for a total of 38 years in January for their roles in the smuggling - which saw involved 31 kilos of drugs stashed in barrels.

Andrew Barrett, Michael Mealing and Jonathan Hart plotted prospective landing and drop off sites in Kent on a map and carried out a recce of a location, unaware that they were under surveillance by the National Crime Agency.

On June 23, 2016 investigators watched as a light aircraft flew low over one of the sites that had been researched by the group, a secluded field a few miles from Faversham.

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