Two men have been arrested in Leicestershire following the discovery of over £120 million of cocaine.
The Class A drugs were found on 8 June when Border Force officers searched a container carrying 800 sacks of charcoal that arrived into London Gateway port on a ship from Panama.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) believe the cocaine had been disguised as charcoal using a sophisticated chemical method, meaning a laboratory process would have been required to retrieve it.
The 1.6 tonnes of drugs would have had a street-level value of in excess of £120 million, they say.
It is thought to be the first time cocaine concealed in this manner has been encountered in the UK.
Armed officers from Leicestershire Police raided farm properties in Whitwick and Coalville on Thursday (June 15).
The raid came after suspects, a 50-year-old from Coalville and a 31-year-old from Nottingham, were arrested at a location in Coalville town centre.
They were detained on suspicion of importing class A drugs and are now being questioned. Searches are continuing, added the agency.
NCA Regional Head of Operations Jacque Beer said: “The NCA focuses on the organised crime groups presenting the most significant threat to the UK, and this includes those involved in the international trafficking of class A drugs.
“This operation has prevented a huge amount of cocaine from making it on to the streets, where it would have generated criminal profit and fuelled further violence and exploitation.
“I’m grateful to Border Force, Leicestershire Police and partners from the Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service and East Midlands Ambulance Service for the support they have provided to our ongoing operation and investigation.”