Woman charged after £100,000 of cocaine found in hot chocolate tins at Gatwick Airport

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A woman has been charged with importing Class A drugs after £100,000 worth of cocaine was found inside hot chocolate tins at Gatwick Airport, the Home Office has said.

Border Force officers at the airport found approximately 1.2 kilos of cocaine inside the drinking tins on Monday, March 21, after a suitcase was intercepted in the South Terminal. The luggage had arrived on a flight from St Lucia.

A spokesman for the Home Office said forensic tests were yet to be carried out to assess the purity of the drug, but it is likely the cocaine would have had a potential street value in excess of £100,000 once cut and adulterated.

The case was passed to the National Crime Agency for further investigation.

Janelle Nicole Mariate, 21, a French national from Martinique, was charged with importing a Class A drug.

She appeared at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday March 22 and was remanded in custody until Tuesday April 26.

Sue Young, Director of Border Force South, said: “In making this seizure, Border Force officers at Gatwick have taken dangerous Class A drugs out of circulation.

“Our officers are on the front-line of the fight to stop drugs, weapons, contraband and illegal immigrants entering the UK. Using detection dogs and the very latest technology, they are on constant alert to protect the country.”

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call 0800 59 5000.

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