Lorry driver who brought in heroin worth £5m through Harwich Port jailed for 14 years

Heroin seized at Harwich

Heroin seized at Harwich - Credit: Archant

A lorry driver persuaded to smuggle heroin worth more than £5million into the UK by his boss has been jailed for 14 years.

Kardis Neverdauskas

Kardis Neverdauskas - Credit: Archant

Scanners at Harwich Port picked up an issue with the lorry driven by Kardis Neverdauskas, from Lithuania, when he came over by ferry on December 13 last year.

Border Force staff searched the vehicle and found 50kg of the class A drug behind the walls, in the doors and behind mirrors in the cab.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday the heroin was 53% pure and had an estimated street value of £5,273,500.

A piece of paper with two Lancashire addresses and 1,300 euros were also found.

Part of the heroin seizure at Harwich port

Part of the heroin seizure at Harwich port - Credit: Archant

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Neverdauskas, 25, initially denied all knowledge of the heroin, but eventually pleaded guilty to one charge of importing a class A drug.

Matthew Pardoe, mitigating, said Neverdauskas had been persuaded to smuggle the drugs by his boss at a Dutch company, who he started a relationship with.

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Mr Pardoe said: “He played a significant role but he was not a leading light in the organisation because he does not have the wherewithal.

“Ideas were being put in his head and he should have realised.”

Judge Christoper Ball QC said the lengthy sentence was a deterrent to others.

He said: “Our country, like so many others, is swamped with hard drugs smuggled in, and these drugs when they are made available on the streets bring untold misery and destroy lives.

“You knowingly brought into this country a massive quantity of that evil substance.

“You played a significant part in the operation and you had your eyes wide open.”

After the hearing Phillip Holliday, Border Force regional director, said:“Thanks to the combined work of Border Force officers and National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators a substantial quantity of dangerous class A drugs has been kept off the streets of the UK and the guilty party has been brought to justice.

“I hope the lengthy sentence Neverdauskas has received sends a strong message to criminals who think they can smuggle illegal drugs into the UK.”

Matt Rivers, from the NCA’s Border Policing Command, added: “This was a significant seizure of class A drugs. If cut and sold on the streets of the UK it could have had a potential value in excess of £5m.

“We are determined to disrupt the criminal networks involved in drug trafficking, and protect the public by working with Border Force to stop smugglers like Neverdauskas.”

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