Two British brothers are behind bars after they were busted with a bewildering amount of cocaine earlier this week, with the country’s border patrol officers seizing an estimated $70 million dollars’ worth of the highly illegal drug.
Martin and Stephen Neil attempted to inconspicuously re-enter their home country off a flight from Bogota, Colombia, on Monday with around half a ton of cocaine crammed into their suitcases and other luggage items, BBC News reported.
Their scheme was quickly busted by Britain’s Border Force, which checked their twin-engine jet at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire and made the stunning discovery. The contraband was packed into bricks and hidden in a whopping 15 suitcases stowed throughout the plane. Two Spaniards and an Italian man who tried to help the Neil brothers’ smuggling operation were also arrested.
“After meeting the flight and questioning those on board, officers became suspicious and searched the aircraft and their luggage,” Border Force Deputy Chief Operation Officer Mike Stepney said of the moments that lead up to the bust.
“When opened, each case was found to contain between 34 to 37 tape-wrapped packages weighing approximately one kilo (2.2 lbs) each,” he said. “One of these was pierced and a white powder exposed which tested positive for cocaine.”
That was enough for Britain’s National Crime Agency to get involved, seizing a number of computers and phones from the drug runners as part of a larger investigation into the operation.
“This is a major seizure of cocaine, one of the largest flown in to the UK by plane in many years, and this seizure by Border Force represents a major blow to organized crime,” said NCA operations manager Siobhan Micklethwaite.
Crewmembers aboard the plane were also questioned but were ultimately released without charges. Authorities are now undertaking a full forensic analysis of the haul.