HGV driver smuggled £1.5m of cocaine through port

An HGV driver who hid more than GBP1.5 million worth of cocaine in a secret compartment while travelling through Dover has been jailed. Branko Bjelopetrovic, 55, a Croatian national living in Slovenia, was stopped at the Eastern Docks on April 9 after Border Force officials found 55kg of cocaine concealed in a hide on his trailer.

Cocaine was found in a secret compartment on the car transporter trailer. Picture: NCA Cocaine was found in a secret compartment on the car transporter trailer. Picture: NCA

National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators found that Bjelopetrovic had travelled from the Netherlands and Belgium where he collected three cars. He told officers that he believed the bags carrying the drugs contained tobacco but answered no comment to other questions.

Bjelopetrovic pleaded guilty to importing Class A drugs at Canterbury Crown Court on May 9.

He was sentenced to nine years at the same court today. NCA branch commander Mark Howes said: “Branko Bjelopetrovic used a hide on his trailer with the deliberate intention to courier drugs into the UK.

Branko Bjelopetrovic. Picture: NCA Branko Bjelopetrovic. Picture: NCAThe bags the drugs were found in. Picture: NCA The bags the drugs were found in. Picture: NCA

“This amount of cocaine, when on the streets of the UK, would have fuelled further crime and exploitation. “We will continue to work with our partners to tackle those who seek to bring illegal drugs into the UK.”

Christina Brown, director of Border Force National Operations Headquarters said: “Border Force’s work with the NCA to stop drugs entering the UK is a core part of the Government’s 10-year drug strategy to cut crime and save lives.

“Today’s sentencing shows the despicable lengths and deception these heinous individuals will go to attempt to smuggle dangerous drugs into the UK.

“The officers involved in this seizure can be proud of their outstanding efforts in preventing this drug consignment from reaching our communities and destroying lives.”