Truck driver hid cocaine worth £2.1million behind wooden planks

A lorry driver has been jailed for nine years after trying to smuggle cocaine worth £2.1million into the UK in his lorry.

The National Crime Agency investigated a Polish national, Rafal Czajka, 39, after his lorry was stopped at Eastern Docks, Dover on November 16, 2021.

A search of the vehicle by Border Force revealed that a skin had been embedded in the bulkhead of the trailer, covered with a plank of wood and held in place with rivets.

After removing the panel, they found six sections of canisters spanning the width of the bulkhead, containing 45 kilos of cocaine in brown taped wrappers.

NCA forensic experts believe the drugs would be worth an estimated £2.1million if cut and sold at street level.

A rivet gun was discovered between the passenger seat and the driver’s seat, and officers also recovered used and unused pop rivets from the driver’s door pocket.

Investigations revealed that the lorry also contained a legitimate load of ventilation fan parts, which were loaded in the Netherlands and destined for Basingstoke.

Today [20 January] at Canterbury Crown Court he was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to importing controlled drugs.

NCA Chief Operating Officer Darren Nicholls said:

“Smugglers like Czajza are risking their freedom by aiding organized crime groups who only care about profit.

“The substantial amount of cocaine seized is believed to have fueled violence and exploitation in the UK.

“We are committed to fighting Class A drug trafficking, and working with key partners, like Border Force, we will continue to protect our borders and our communities.”

Martin Coates, Deputy Director of Border Force South East and Europe said:

“These drug gangs are violent, exploitative and don’t think about the communities they are tearing apart across the country.

“This seizure and others like it send a clear message to anyone considering attempting to smuggle illegal drugs into the country that we remain committed and ready to tackle drug supply chains.

“Border Force’s work with the NCA to keep drugs out of the UK is at the heart of the government’s 10-year drugs strategy to reduce crime and save lives.

“The officers involved in this seizure can be proud of their work to prevent this deadly drug from reaching our communities.”

January 20, 2022