Police have charged three British men with drug trafficking after they seized more than 50 kilos of class A drugs from a lorry whose driver was sleeping.
Brian Wright, 72, Mark Youell, 63, and Alfred Rumbold, 64, were arrested as part of an ongoing probe into a transport firm allegedly involved in importing drugs.
Wright was sleeping when Dutch police arrested him in his removals lorry just north of Utrecht in The Netherlands.
Officers seized 30 kilos of heroin, 20 kilos of cocaine and three kilos of MDMA from the truck.
The drugs have a combined street value of around £3.2 million.
Shortly afterwards officers from the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) moved in to arrest Youell and Rumbold at their homes in Clacton, Essex, and Orpington in Kent.
Investigators searching Wright’s home in Folkestone, Kent, recovered a handgun, ammunition and £10,000 in cash.
All three men have since been charged on suspicion of importing class A drugs.
Youell and Rumbold are due to appear at Medway Magistrates Courton on Saturday.
The joint British-Dutch investigation forms part of Operation Venetic, which has seen authorities arrest hundreds of people after they infiltrated the encrypted communications platform Encrochat.
NCA branch commander Peter Stevens said: “This operation has prevented millions of pounds of dangerous class A drugs from reaching the UK, where they would have been sold on by gangs involved in violence and exploitation.
“It demonstrates the value of international co-operation in combating organised crime.
“Our investigation into the circumstances surrounding this seizure, and those suspected of being behind it, continues.”