Smuggled drugs in carvings

Cocaine seizure

two carved wooden statues, one turned to reveal an opening at the back

In June 2006 officers were inspecting freight at Heathrow Airport, which contained a large cardboard box. Within the box there were 15 wooden statues, four of which were altered to create cavities. White powder was found concealed within the spaces and was sent for inspection.

It was cocaine - over 21kilos, with a purity of about 80%, and an estimated street value of over £1million.

The freight had come in to the country from Nairobi (Kenya), and was going to a residential address in Harrow (London).

Officers organised an undercover operation in an attempt to catch the gang. As part of the investigation a man was seen loading the box in to a Mercedes, which was later transferred to another vehicle.

The operation led to the search of two private addresses, where a further 30 wooden statues containing white powder were discovered. The inquiry revealed that there had been five earlier drug imports during 2005 and 2006. The person was arrested and later appeared at Brent Magistrates Court.