A lorry driver has been jailed for 12 years after being caught smuggling £1.25 million worth of heroin into the UK hidden among packets of crisps.
Dariusz Urban, 49, was arrested by Border Force officers on April 15 this year as he was driving into the Essex port of Harwich with 25 kg of the Class A drug.
The officers were tipped off by agents at the National Crime Agency (NCA), who cracked the EncroChat encrypted messaging service Urban was using with his partners in crime.
His Dutch drugs supplier was also arrested by local law enforcement after contacting Urban on the encrypted service following his arrest.
The lorry driver, from Ostrzeszow in western Poland, was jailed for 12 years on Saturday after admitting attempting to import Class A drugs.
The sting was part of a wider anti-drug smuggling operation that officers say has resulted in hundreds of arrests and more than two tonnes of drugs being seized.
NCA Deputy Director Matt Horne, said: “Darius Urban’s sentencing is another example of the impact the NCA, Border Force and UK policing are having on serious organised crime.
“Like many other cases, with this operation we were able to plot how the drugs would be picked up and moved and when would be best to strike. There is much more to come.”
NCA branch commander Mark Spoors said: “Drug traffickers don’t care at all about the hell they wreak on communities.
“The seizure of this significant amount of heroin means the crime groups trading it have lost money which won’t be fed back into other drugs deals.
“Stopping drugs traffickers is a top priority – and we’ll continue working with our partners at home and abroad to do it.”