Lorry driver jailed over £1.25m drug smuggling plot
- Credit: National Crime Agency
A lorry driver arrested at Harwich docks with heroin worth £1.25 million after police cracked an encrypted criminal communications platform has been jailed for 12 years.
Dariusz Urban was found with 25kg of heroin hidden in his load of crisps by officers from the Border Force, who were waiting for him after being alerted by the National Crime Agency agency (NCA).
Urban’s arrest was as a result of Operation Venetic, a major coup by international law enforcement officers in February when they cracked the EncroChat network - used exclusively by criminals to communicate with each other in secret.
The NCA worked through millions of pieces of information and was able to use the intelligence to catch 49-year-old Urban as he drove his lorry into Harwich International Port on April 15.
The Border Force officers found 50 packets of drugs, with an estimated street value of £1.25m, hidden inside two steel vehicle ramps inside the truck.
You may also want to watch:
Urban, of Ostrzeszow, western Poland, was also in possession of an EncroChat phone.
A day later, an international drugs supplier shared a screen shot on EncroChat of the NCA story and asked the suspected UK recipient of the drugs: “This you?”
- 1 Victoria Hall murder: Suffolk strangler Steve Wright reportedly arrested
- 2 'It was as if Covid didn't exist' - Latitude-goers report positive tests
- 3 Boy, 5, in critical condition after incident at department store
- 4 Town bosses on 'Chequebook FC' nickname, Premier League timeframe and more
- 5 Superstitious nonsense or serious business? - Change on the way as Ipswich Town play the numbers game
- 6 Boy, 13, pulled from moat at Framlingham Castle
- 7 Hunt for Victoria Hall's killer takes another twist
- 8 Man arrested on suspicion of murdering Victoria Hall
- 9 Town's first game of the season will be all-ticket
- 10 Suffolk sprinter opens her 'dream' cafe at age of 25
The supplier has now been arrested in the Netherlands by Dutch authorities.
Urban was jailed at Chelmsford Crown Court after admitting attempting to import Class A drugs.
Operation Venetic has smashed thousands of criminal conspiracies, resulted in the arrests of hundreds of suspects, and the seizure of scores of firearms and more than two tonnes of Class A and B drugs.
NCA Deputy Director Matt Horne, who is the gold commander on Operation Venetic, said: “Darius Urban’s sentencing is another example of the impact the NCA, Border Force and UK policing are having on serious organised crime.
“Like many other cases, with this operation we were able to plot how the drugs would be picked up and moved and when would be best to strike. There is much more to come.”
NCA branch commander Mark Spoors added: “Drug traffickers don’t care at all about the hell they wreak on communities.
“The seizure of this significant amount of heroin means the crime groups trading it have lost money which won’t be fed back into other drugs deals.
“Stopping drugs traffickers is a top priority – and we’ll continue working with our partners at home and abroad to do it.”