A Portuguese lorry driver has been sentenced to eight years in prison at Canterbury Crown Court after pleading guilty to cannabis smuggling through Dover.
UK Border Agency officers stopped and questioned Luis Antonio Lopes De Faria on 21 February 2011 at the inward freight controls at Dover Eastern docks. When officers searched the Dutch-registered vehicle he was driving they found in the load of mixed goods, six pallets laden with boxes containing a total of 1.75 tonnes of cannabis. The drugs had an estimated street value of over £5 million.
Lopes De Faria was arrested and charged with the attempted importation. He originally pleaded not guilty on 25 February 2011 at Folkestone Magistrates Court.
However at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court on 10 January he changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced there today.
Malcolm Bragg, Assistant Director, UK Border Agency's Criminal and Financial Investigation said: "This case once again demonstrates the robust controls that we have at our ports and airports that enable us to identify those who try to evade or smuggle illicit goods through our borders.
"Cannabis is an illegal substance that wrecks the lives not only of individual users but also their families and the wider community as a whole.
"This sentence should act as a warning to those who attempt to smuggle illegal drugs into this country."
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to drug smuggling should call the UK Border Agency on 0800 59 5000.