£50m cocaine haul found on jet at UK airport

Five men have been arrested after half a tonne of cocaine worth more than £50m was found at Farnborough Airport.

The massive haul was discovered after border officials searched a private jet which had arrived from Bogota in Colombia.

Two Britons, two Spaniards and an Italian are being held on suspicion of importing Class A drugs, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

Computers and phones have also been seized after three properties were searched in Bournemouth as part of the investigation.

Border Force officers seized suitcases containing cocaine worth more than £50 million at Farnborough Airport

Image: Border Force officers seized 15 suitcases

The crew of the plane have been released without charge.

“This is a major seizure of cocaine, one of the largest flown into the UK by plane in many years, and this seizure by Border Force represents a major blow to organised crime,” said NCA operations manager Siobhan Micklethwaite.

“We estimate that once cut and sold on the streets in the UK it would have had a potential value in excess of £50m.

“Our investigations into this attempted importation are continuing.”

The twin-engined jet which was carrying half a tonne of cocaine

Image: The twin engine jet arrived from Bogota in Colombia

The cocaine was hidden in 15 suitcases that were found on board, the Border Force said.

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Every case contained between 34 and 37 tape-wrapped packages that weighed about a kilo each.

“One of these was pierced and a white powder exposed which tested positive for cocaine,” Border Force deputy chief operating officer Mike Stepney said.