Published: 13:42, 13 June 2018
| Updated: 15:02, 13 June 2018
A stock car racer has come down to earth with a bump after being nabbed smuggling £2.6m drugs into Kent.
Dutchman Antonius Hendriks, 50, claimed he was on his way to races in King's Lynn when his vehicle was stopped at the Channel Tunnel with pal Rene Neuteboom, 35.
Canterbury Crown Court heard the specially adapted truck being used to transport Hendriks’s race car were 40kgs of cocaine and 280kgs of cannabis stashed in the roof.
Border officials decided to carry out checks after finding an illegal immigrant had hidden in an external locker on the truck.
Then Border Force officers scanned the vehicle and found 60 holdalls containing the class A and class B drugs in concealed roof compartments.
Neuteboom, who owned and drove the truck, admitted: “It’s weed.”
National Crime Agency investigators proved the men had travelled to the UK at least 20 times and that Hendriks had not raced in the UK since 2016.
The self-employed car dealer, and Neuteboom both admitted importing class A and class B drugs.
Hendriks was jailed for 10 years and 10 months and Neuteboom for nine years.
NCA branch commander Matt Rivers said: “Couriers like Hendriks and Neuteboom provide a vital service to the organised criminal networks involved in drug trafficking.
“These convictions are testament to the hard work of the NCA and our partners at Border Force.
“We have jointly taken out a sizeable consignment of drugs that would have funded further serious and organised crime in the UK and beyond if the vehicle had not been stopped and scanned.”
Paul Morgan, director of Border Force South East and Europe, said: “This is another excellent example of Border Force officers preventing a substantial quantity of drugs, with an estimated street level value of around £2.6 million, from ending up on the streets of the UK, where they cause significant harm to both individuals and communities.
“Working with our colleagues at the NCA we are determined to do all we can to stop drug traffickers.
"Those convicted of drug importation offences face considerable prison sentences.”
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