Kent

Dover drug smuggler hid heroin in charcoal boxes

Vasil Stoyanov Image copyright NCA
Image caption Vasil Stoyanov has been jailed for 14 years

A man who tried to smuggle £11m worth of heroin into the UK by hiding it in boxes of charcoal has been jailed.

Vasil Stoyanov, 30, was caught by Border Force officers with a lorry-load of the class A drug at Dover Eastern Docks in June 2015.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the haul was estimated to be worth £3m wholesale and £11m on the street.

Stoyanov, who had pleaded not guilty, was sentenced to 14 years in prison at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday.

Image copyright NCA
Image caption The drugs were flat packed and taped to the inside of the boxes, the NCA said

Following an NCA investigation, a border force officer found 130g of the drug powdered and sealed in a plastic bag stuck to the inside wall of one of the shipment's 2,000 cardboard boxes.

A search of the lorry's load found 228 boxes had heroin inside concealed in the same way.

The shipment was addressed to Lizzy86 Ltd, Stoyanov's company which was exposed as a front.

Cambridgeshire police officers searched his home in Swinburne Close, Kettering, and a nearby lock-up.

Image copyright NCA
Image caption The drugs were found in some of the 2,000 Lizzy 86 boxes

They found cut open charcoal boxes and documents showing he had spent £66,000 on three large orders of charcoal for a return of £67.

His eBay account listed just two lots of charcoal for sale at £3.50 each.

Mark Harding, senior investigating officer at the NCA, said: "The seizure means serious organised criminals have lost out on a huge revenue stream and street-level dealers won't be able to endanger heroin users and the communities in which they live.

"It's also shut down a smuggling route that could have been used to bring any kind of dangerous commodity into the country."

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