A Portsmouth dock worker has been arrested and charged with attempted drug importation offences.
44-year-old Michael Jordan of London Road, Portsmouth, was detained by the National Crime Agency at his home address on Tuesday 10 May.
After being questioned by investigators he was charged with conspiring to import class A drugs last night and will appear before Portsmouth Magistrates today (12 May).
The arrest follows an NCA investigation into alleged corrupt activity at the port which has already seen two people charged with the same offence.
Michael Butcher, age 65 from Victory Avenue, Waterlooville, and Clayton Harwood, age 55 from St Davids Road, Southsea, were arrested on 30 April. They are next due before Portsmouth Crown Court on 30 May.
The investigation was triggered by a seizure of 1.5 tonnes of cocaine in the Netherlands last month. Officers suspect the end destination was the UK.
NCA Senior Investigating Officer Adrian Barnard said:
“We know that criminal gangs target insiders within ports and airports for their knowledge and access.
“While it is rare, when it happens it represents a disproportionately large threat, which is why it is such a focus for the NCA and our partners in law enforcement and the private sector.
“Investigations are ongoing so it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.”
A 44-year-old man has become the fourth Portsmouth dock worker to be charged with drug importation offences as part of a National Crime Agency investigation.
David Stuart Oliver, of Cornwall Road, Fratton, was arrested by NCA officers at his place of work yesterday (8 June).
After being questioned by investigators he was charged with conspiring to import class A drugs overnight and appeared before Portsmouth Magistrates this morning (9 June).
Oliver was remanded in custody until his next appearance at Portsmouth Crown Court on 15 June.
His arrest is the result of an NCA investigation triggered by the seizure of 1.5 tonnes of cocaine in the Netherlands in April.
It has already seen three people appear in court charged with importation offences. They are due in court again in July.
the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office reported seizing a record volume of illegal drugs in 2021. The report stated that the most common medium of smuggling drugs in the country was found to be the containers arriving at the port of Rotterdam. The advanced monitoring and surveillance techniques helped the Dutch customs seize a record volume of drugsand make several arrests.
Nanette van Schelven, Customs Chief, expressed her surprise regarding the rising shipment size. In 2021, there were nine incidents where the customs seized drugs shipments weighing more than a ton. Authorities guess that the disruption of global shipping has pushed the smugglers to risk larger loads to maintain their supply chain in Europe.
Dutch customs seized 68 tons of cocaine at the airport and seaport combined in 2021, whereas the Dutch police arrested 400 people concerning drug shipment cases. In contrast, there were 281 people arrested in drug shipment cases in 2020, whereas 50 tons of drugs were seized in the same year.
The report highlights the largest single shipment picked up in 2021 when 4.2 tons of cocaine were found inside two containers coming from Paraguay. In December, customs officials seized drugs weighing two tons, primarily hidden in containers. Some of the major catches included 1.5 tons of cocaine in a container from Ecuador, 139kg of cocaine in a container from Brazil, and 70kg of cocaine mixed with banana and avocados.
Customs officials said they are capturing narcotics with advanced surveillance and targeting, unlike ever before. The officials explained that additional targeting and identification of the containers that are more likely to be used by smugglers have helped them seize more narcotics. Officials are also using diving teams and drones to trace shipments.