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Three men have admitted conspiring to smuggle £5.5m worth of cocaine from the UK to Ireland.

cocaine packagesLorry driver Joseph Gray, 52, was stopped by officers at the port of Holyhead, North Wales, on 9 October last year.

Inside his heavy goods vehicle were pallets of yoghurt and orange juice but hidden among them were 69 kilos of cocaine in one kilo blocks.

Gray, of Draperstown, Northern Ireland, had collected the Class A drugs the day before from conspirators Moynul Hoque, 31, of, Clapton, London, and Usman Iqbal, 35, of Grays, Essex.

The pair had driven to Thornbury near Bristol where they met Gray and handed over the drugs.

Telecommunications and telematics evidence linked all three men to the area at that time.

Gray was arrested on 9 October as he was about to travel to Dublin, Ireland, and Hoque and Iqbal were arrested together on 12 December at the UK custom controls at the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles, France, as they were travelling in a Belgian registered BMW.

Yesterday (Weds) at Caernarfon Crown Court the trio admitted exporting Class A drugs.

They will be sentenced on 4 March 2022.

National Crime Agency senior investigating officer Callum Gracey said: "These drugs would have put vast sums of money back into the hands of criminals who would have reinvested it into more offending.

“Class A drugs are at the centre of violence and misery which blight some of our communities.

“The NCA works closely with partners at home and abroad to fight the Class A drugs threat and to protect the public from the harm drugs cause.”

16 December 2021