COCAINE worth an estimated £1.6 million has been seized at Belfast Port.

Twenty kilos (3st 2lb) of the drug was found inside an empty fuel tank being transported in a van which arrived from Birkenhead in England on Monday.

The driver, a 39-year-old man from Wolverhampton, has been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to supply controlled drugs.

A 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of the same offences in Wolverhampton.

Officers using special equipment were called in to recover the drugs in an operation which took several hours.

The operation was led by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and also involved Belfast Harbour Police, Border Force and the PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch.

NCA branch commander Adam Warnock said it was one of the biggest cocaine seizures made in Northern Ireland in recent years.

“The loss of the profit that would have been made from it will be felt by the criminal groups involved in drug supply in the province,” he said.

“Those groups are also involved in exploitation and violence in our communities, so taking away these drugs will prevent them from reinvesting in further criminal activity.”

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