A lorry driver has been jailed for attempting to smuggle £500,000 worth of cocaine in his sofa van.
Gitanas Eitmanavicius, 48, from Kaunas in Lithuania, concealed five packages of the class A drug inside an air conditioning unit in the roof and inside the backs of seats.
He initially claimed the packages were tobacco and food and he was delivering them on behalf of someone he met at a Dutch service station.
He later changed his story, admitting he knew they were cocaine, and pleaded guilty to attempting to import class A drugs into the UK.
National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators stopped the lorry while driving through border controls at Dover in September.
Officers from Border Force searched the sofa delivery vehicle and found the hidden packages.
The contents were tested positive for cocaine, and were estimated to be worth £500,000 in street value.
NCA Dover Branch Commander Martin Grace said: “The class A drugs trade is almost always linked to serious and organised crime, with people and communities feeling the true cost.
“This seizure stopped a considerable amount of cocaine from reaching users in the UK and causing harm, and the man who tried to bring it in is now behind bars.
“Working with partners like Border Force we are determined to do all we can to disrupt the organised crime networks who profit from this business.”
Another man who attempted to smuggle 1.5kg of cocaine from Jamaica to the UK to then sell to pay off a debt was sentenced to over eight years in prison this week.
Clayton Johnson, 52, from Bromley, admitted to swallowing 56 packages of cocaine in an attempt to smuggle them into the UK within his stomach, plus concealing additional packages within two specially modified pairs of shoes.
He had intended to sell the drugs to repay a £6,000 debt incurred by damaging a boat in Jamaica.
Andy Noyes, Branch Commander, NCA, added: “Swallowing these powerful drugs was incredibly dangerous, and could have caused great harm to Johnson; or if his venture had succeeded, to members of the public.”
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